Reopening: Social-Emotional Well-Being
We recognize that the social-emotional well-being of our students and employees during these challenging times is critically important. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the district has made resources and referrals available to address the mental health, behavioral and emotional needs of students, faculty and staff, and we will continue to do so as we plan for school to reopen for the 2020-21 school year.
The district has established an advisory council that involves shared decision-making and is comprised of families, students, Board of Education members, school and district leaders, community-based service providers, teachers, certified school counselors and other pupil personnel service providers. The advisory council will inform the comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan. This program plan has been reviewed and updated to meet current needs.The district addresses professional development opportunities for faculty and staff on how to talk with and support students during and after the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as provide support for developing coping and resilience skills for students, faculty and staff.
All possible services are delivered via personal service; crisis services are available to students in attendance or via tele-therapy through our partnership with Parsons Child and Family Center.
The district also provides most employees with a robust benefit plan with access to mental health services in both health plan options. The district has worked with plan carriers to modify co-payments related to COVID-19 testing and treatments.
All staff have access to an Employee Assistance Program to support appropriate work-life balance needs. Services allow employees referrals to mental health providers. Human Resources will be developing a quarterly initiative to provide ongoing options for employees to be made aware of the full range of Employee Assistance Program services.
Beyond the trauma of living through this global pandemic, we continue to see equity issues grounded in systemic racism throughout our country.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), regardless of your child’s age, he or she may feel upset or have other strong emotions after experiencing a traumatic event. Some children react right away, while others may show signs of difficulty much later. How children react or common signs of distress can vary according to age.
- An article on racism from starr.org
- CDC tips on returning to school following a disaster
- National Association of School Pyschologists article on supporting students during stressful times
We have included these additional helpful resources below to provide more information on COVID-19.
- U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- CDC in Action: Preparing Communities for Potential Spread of COVID-19
- New York State Department of Health
- New York State Novel Coronavirus Hotline – 888-364-3065
Below are resources that address social-emotional needs of all stakeholders, including students, during an infectious disease outbreak.
- School Mental Health and Training Center
- NYS Office of Mental Health
- Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks
Below are resources that may be helpful in talking to children about COVID-19:
- Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus
- Fear of Coronavirus -- A Good Time to Talk to Kids About Keeping Fears Realistic and Manageable; Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource
- The National Association of School Psychologists offers a wide range of suggestions to help parents and guardians talk with children about COVID-19. These suggestions include remaining calm and assuring, making yourself available to young people, keeping explanations age-appropriate, avoiding excessive blaming, monitoring television and social media exposure, maintaining a normal routine to the extent possible, being honest and accurate, knowing the symptoms of COVID-19, reviewing and modeling basic hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices for protection, and discussing new rules or practices for school.
- Talking to kids about coronavirus, an article from The Daily Reporter
- Talking to young children about masks, an article from The New York Times