Schools around the country and within the Tri-State are trying to figure out how to safely bring students back to class this fall.
A new survey from Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH) of nearly 700 parents with kids in kindergarten through the 12th grade showed overall, 90% of parents had some sort of concern over sending their child back to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, NCH says 36% of parents were also concerned about their children's emotional health in returning to school.
Experts at NCH shared five tips to help prepare children for the year ahead.
1. Remind Children of Their Support System
"We should all be talking with our kids about the upcoming school year, admitting to them that there a lot of unknowns, but mentioning that you're there to support them and work through it," said NCH Pediatric Psychologist Parker L. Huston.
2. Openly Discuss Areas of Fear
"Parents certainly don't have to pretend that they have all the answers, but one strategy that they can use is to work with their child around discussing some of those unknowns and uncertainties," Samanta Boddapati, PhD explained.
3. Model Appropriate Coping Skills
"If parents have the opportunity to model really healthy coping skills around managing some of that uncertainty through things like access social supports, reaching out to others for help," Dr. Boddapati went on to say.
4. Consistently Practice Safety Procedures
"Don't wait until the first day of school to say 'oh by the way, here's your mask and you have to wear it, and other people are going to be wearing it too' - practice in the environment, practice at home," Dr. Huston explained.
5. Seek Out Resources Available to Help
"We have the onoursleeves.org website where parents can find lots of information on lots of different mental health concerns, and we have free resources online as a way to locate mental health resources in your own area no matter where you live in the United States," said Dr. Huston
With statewide mask mandates in effect and school athletics also feeling the impact, students may feel uncertain of what the return to class will be like - which is why the experts at NCH say now is the time to start preparing for the changes students will experience.