Back to school: How to deal with preparation, stressors

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – In a normal school year, going back in the fall can already be stressful, but add the threat of COVID-19 and the transition gets even more difficult.

Shannon Cox, superintendent of the Montgomery County Educational Service District, said as students go back, the types of stressors families experience will largely depend on the ways they’ve braced themselves in response to the pandemic.

“So for instance if it’s a family that has taken extra precautions and not gone out to be with other folks, [or] that [has] not participated in an extracurricular activities like a summer softball league or a soccer league of some sort, then we could have children that are just a little anxious and nervous about coming back into school house doors,” said Cox.

She explained that families who have allowed their children to be more social are likely to experience less stress related to COVID. No matter which decision a family has made, she said the best way to deal with the anxiety to set aside time for practice situations.

“If students are nervous about being around people, or what door to enter in, regardless of what issue we’re dealing with, go practice,” she said. “Make a visit to the school, have conversations with your school administrators to find out exactly what the conditions are going to be.”

But simply asking them how they’re feeling, she said, may be one of the best ways to ease the pressure.

“Listen to what those students are saying,” she said. “Also, if they’re not nervous about anything, take them for their word. They’re  probably not nervous and they probably have it under control and we should not make anything an issue that isn’t an issue.”

She added, parents can brace themselves for the upcoming school year as well, by talking to school administrators and familiarizing themselves with school policies, including those related to COVID-19 before classes are underway. But ultimately, she said its up to families to help kids set a framework for what they should expect when they are once again required to walk the halls this fall.

“It’s important to remember that the adults set the tone of the attitude and sort of the comfortableness…or lack of before we go back to school,” she said.

To learn more about COVID-19 protocols at schools in the Miami Valley, click here.

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