At-risk kids struggling during the pandemic

At-risk kids struggling during the pandemic

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Students across the country are gearing up to go back to school in the fall whether it’s online, in person or both.

But some students lacking resources, living in poverty or facing problems at home continue to struggle during this pandemic and returning to school won’t be easy.

Dr. Regina Rahimi, an education professor at Georgia Southern University, says schools also need to work on their student’s mental health because she doesn’t believe a lot of resources will be available to students when they return to school.

“I think students are coming back with this added layer of stress that certainly teachers are going to have to address or come up with strategies to address.”

Dr. Regina Rahimi has worked with and done research on at risk youth for 28 years.

She says right now, all children are struggling during the pandemic.

But she also says as schools prepare for the fall, they need to provide structure for those who may not have it at home.

“A lot of kids that come from difficult home settings or don’t have that family structure in place, they long for that structure at school, they long for the teachers to say ‘Good morning Michael!’, they long for that consistency in their life.”

Dr. Rahimi says right now, educators are focusing on the physical health of students.

But, they need to focus on their mental health and trauma they’re facing.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a whole lot of resources available to students as they come back to address those needs.”

Dr. Rahimi says there is a dire need in our community and country to help deal with student trauma.

She’ll be working with Savannah-Chatham County Public School teachers to help them with this.

She’s also partnering with Hodge Elementary School to support teachers who teach in a high poverty schools.

“We need to be sensitive to the needs, the resources that those students have and to put in place every opportunity that they have to be as successful as anybody else.”

Dr. Rahimi says this school year, she wants to see more counselors, adults, and teachers be consistent with students and be more skilled and knowledgeable about practices that can support them.

Dr. Rahimi also says schools doing virtual learning in the fall need to give students opportunities to talk about how they're feeling, ways to engage in the arts and give them tasks to help them create.

She also suggest that parents ask their school leaders how they can help them during this time.

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