Country Connected Distance Learning
Country School Communications About COVID–19
This hub contains all major communications about COVID–19 that directly affect The Country School community. Content will be updated as new communications are sent.
- Week 7 - Status of the School
- Week 5 - Community Update, 4/25/20
- Week 4 - You Gotta Have Heart
- Week 3 - A Video Message from Mr. Fixx, 4/10/20
- Week 2 - A Video Message from Mr. Fixx, 4/3/20
- Distance Learning Update, 4/1/20
- COVID-19 in the TCS Community, 3/28/20
- In the News 3/24/20
- A Video Message from Mr. Fixx, 3/23/20
- Distance Learning Expectations, 3/18/20
- Bright Spots at Country, 3/16/20
- Distance Learning Update, 3/13/20
- Coronavirus Precaution - Distance Learning, 3/4/20
On Wednesday, May 13 the Educational Leadership Team and I are going to hold a Country School Town Hall to discuss the rest of this academic year, campus safety, our summer program, and the process of planning for optimal student, employee, and parent safety on campus this coming fall and, alternatively, our plans to enhance our Country Connected distance learning, if necessary.
For the last week of school, all grades are in session on Monday and Tuesday. Note that the last day of classes will be Monday, June 8. Tuesday, June 9 will be our customary Closing Ceremonies and then a fun Virtual Field Day that is going to astound our students. Stay tuned for more information about Field Day. Zoom Graduation (while waiting for an in-person, safe Graduation later this summer) takes place on Wednesday, June 10 from 9:00 to 10:45 a.m. Grades 3 - 8 are invited to attend Wednesday’s Graduation, with the understanding that the ceremony might be long for our young learners. Graduation attendance is required of all students in grades 6, 7 and 8.
Governor Lamont announced that summer camps can start on June 29. As stated earlier, we’ve been preparing for our camps, full of hope, all along. We are incorporating all the safety features and appropriate social distancing guidelines into our summer program. We have the advantage of being outside and spreading out well beyond the minimal safety distancing. In addition, our summer program will be crafted in small groups of 10 or fewer, with all cautions taken involving frequent hand washing, masks, sanitizing wipes, protective gear, and other steps as described for this fall, immediately below.
- Enhanced cleaning and hygiene focus concerning: hand railings, bathroom faucets, paper towel dispensers, door handles, and water fountains.
- Cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day and again overnight.
- Reducing the potential spread of Coronavirus by coordinating multiple drop-off and pick-up locations and creating more waiting spots for separation.
- Reimagining snack and lunch venues.
- Decluttering classroom and all learning spaces to maximize social distancing.
- Eliminating paper goods, plastics and many hard surfaces.
- Purchasing protective masks, gloves, gowns, antibacterial cleaners, and illness-monitoring devices.
- Needing to practice "social protection," not only social distancing. This will involve re-thinking recess and co-curricular activities, consistent with State Health Guidelines.
- We are studying how we might take advantage of our large campus during the fall and spring to create outdoor classrooms.
- Internal spaces not customarily used for classroom teaching such as Elmore Library, Duffy STEAM lab, the Farmhouse Conference Room, and so forth can become teaching spaces, if needed.
- Our Reopening Plan will have
- a plan for repopulation of the campus;
- a plan for monitoring health conditions to ensure detection of infection;
- a plan for containment to prevent spreading of the disease if infection is detected;
- a plan for partial or complete temporary shut down if infection cannot be contained.
- On the academic side, we are considering organizing the academic calendar into smaller terms so, should there be a disruption back to Country Connected distance learning, only part of the grading calendar is disrupted.
Dear Country School Friends,
Who could have predicted this unnerving stay-at-home episode when the academic year started? Thank you for the flexibility this community has shown at an unprecedented time of global confusion, medical responsiveness, and individual responsibility.
- The academic administration wants parents to know that sometimes less can be more during this unusual time, reducing stress. Your children are going to be fine academically. They come from home environments of high stimulation, they have your love and support, and this episode, however long it goes, is only a brief time in your child’s educational journey. If you would prefer they dig a hole in the backyard, go for a hike, climb a tree, ride a bike, or compose poetry, let them.
- Parents, if you don’t feel as if you are explicating the piece of writing as well as our English Department would, or you don’t understand the way we instruct in math, or you think you’re letting your child down in science or music or PE or library or any subject, relax. Enjoy this time with your children, support them as best you can, let no tears shed in your house (from you or your children), and know that, when we return to school, our teachers will assess where the students are and – as they always do – work with each child individually to support her or him in the areas of strength and focus on areas of potential growth, however small.
- And as for evenings, I want our faculty to be able to shut down at the end of the academic day by 4 o’clock. Is there an expectation that they might need to have another hour or two of prep and corrections during these times? Probably, especially during the early technological transition time. But we are hoping that the faculty can spend time with themselves and their families, while growing in their individual ways.
- I suggest you therefore not expect emails back from our teachers after 6 p.m., until they write you the next day. Obviously, if there’s ever an emergency, reach me, Beth Coyne, Pam Glasser or Jennifer Hornyak. Otherwise, our teachers – after applying themselves all day in a way none of them were trained – are charging batteries during this intense time, particularly important for teachers so they are fresh the next day for your children.
- I might be sharing the obvious but I want families to understand we have had a range of reactions within our parent body. In the same day recently, we heard a couple families asking for more screen time, more Zoom time, and more one-on-one time with the teachers. The same day, predictably, we had parents sharing with us that it’s too much screen time and too academic and too rigorous and they want their child to feel some relief during this time of economic and medical uncertainty. Is either perspective of family right or wrong? Of course not. Each child is different and each family values different things.
- Just understand, please, the pressure on The Country School teachers when they receive both requests from their families. We are going to try to step in as an administration and navigate that Scylla and Charybdis.
Head of School
Dear Country School Community,
I hope this letter finds everyone well and making the most of this close time together as families. The Health Office and Administration continue to monitor and assess the developments related to COVID-19 and how The Country School can best respond. Please know we are consulting with experts along the way, having thoughtful discussions within the Board and school, and ensuring that we are acting according to our Mission and values.
The decision to move to distance learning was made to promote the health, safety, and well-being of our students, teachers, staff members, families and community. However, as we do our best to follow protocols regarding social distancing and personal hygiene, it has always remained a likelihood that the health of someone in our greater Country School community would be affected. At this time, we have learned that 19 days ago we had someone working on campus who has since been diagnosed with COVID-19. Presently, this person is strong and recovering comfortably in quarantine at home. While the presumed timing of infection was after the worker was on campus, to be cautious we have already contacted the few people who were potentially exposed and have given the discrete areas of school an additional sanitizing.
WITH EXTENDED CLOSURE LIKELY, MADISON PUBLIC SCHOOLS, THE COUNTRY SCHOOL MOVE TOWARD COMPREHENSIVE REMOTE LEARNING
The Country School pre-Kindergarten student Sydney Amara of Madison got a jump on her studies by setting up her classroom at the kitchen table.
The Country School 5th-grader Lucy Burke of Westbrook Zooms with her classmates and teachers (Zoom is a popular online video conferencing app).
With Extended Closure Likely, Madison Public Schools, The Country School Move Toward Comprehensive Remote Learning
MADISON / —
As students and educators across the state come to grips with the reality of a closure likely to last much longer than a week or two, schools in Madison are settling in for an unprecedented second half of the school year, with living rooms taking the place of classrooms and teachers speaking from a screens instead of from a podium.
After announcing an optional, supplemental learning program to cover a two-week closure, Madison Superintendent of Schools Tom Scarice sent a letter out to parents and community members that laid an outline for a more in-depth remote learning experience to begin on Monday, March 30.
Following the district’s initial closure on March 13, the state Department of Education and Governor Ned Lamont released a series of new guidelines and relaxed standards for remote learning in response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, notably waiving the 180-school-day requirement and allowing more flexibility for districts.
Scarice told a special meeting of the Board of Selectmen on March 23 that while there would be plenty of interactivity between students and teachers, Madison public schools would be leaning toward more “asynchronous” activities—students completing work independently on their own time.
The district does not have a tablet or computer for every single student, he said at the meeting, though principals are working with families who might need more devices. For the most part, he said people will be expected to share devices between siblings, and that the learning day will remain flexible to allow this.
With the unprecedented nature of what the district is attempting, Scarice cautioned that there would likely be “false starts” as teachers attempt to provide resources and availability to students from their homes.
“They’re eager, but they’re also anxious,” Scarice said. “They want to do it right.”
Scarice said the district was also trying to be extremely “cautious” about how much it asked parents to do as far as supporting their students, knowing many of them are also working from home.
“To set up an instructional program that requires maybe mom...and dad to be supporting their student in an online program at home...is, I think, unreasonable,” Scarice said.
Teachers will also be available during certain hours for live support, though what that will look like would vary by class and grade. He said the goal would be to provide a strong schedule for students, saying that teachers were “so important” in providing “some sense of normalcy and routine” for students.
Scarice said more specifics would be going out to parents this week, ahead of the March 30 kickoff of the program.
The Country School
Over at the private Pre-K-8 The Country School, which serves a little more than 200 students, Head of School John Fixx said the school is launching its remote learning program beginning this week.
Though Fixx also emphasized that there will be a learning curve, he told The Source that the school’s teachers have been “working toward and planning for” a virtual continuation of curriculum.
“It is important to recognize that we have been doing distant learning during various snow days for some years and so our students and teachers have more familiarity with this remote approach than in many schools,” Fixx said via email. “We hope that The Country School can be a leader and an example of connectivity and ingenuity during this unusual time of social isolation but educational imperative.”
Fixx outlined the general schedule of a virtual day, with younger grades—5th and below—aiming for at least one daily live check-in with their teachers, with video lessons and other material throughout the day, and potentially an afternoon live check-out session as well.
Fixx said these conferences will “serve as a touchpoint during a time when our students will be missing one another and missing their teachers.”
Middle school students will engage in “substantial” video conference work during the week, Fixx said, and teachers of all grades and subjects will also touch base with students and parents on the phone to answer questions.
“One hallmark of The Country School for 65 years has been the intimacy of our school community,” Fixx said. “While we will miss the physical proximity on campus, we want to replicate the interpersonal interaction on a daily basis and we are confident we will be able to do so.”
The school will also provide additional iPads and Chromebooks to students as needed, according to Fixx.
With no real way of knowing how long the distance learning will go on, Fixx said teachers and administrators would review what was possible as far as “educational experiences” on a weekly basis and modify as needed, though the school would be following the regular curriculum “as much as possible.”
According to a letter to the community posted on The Country School’s website, the first day of distance learning for the school is a “shake-out-the-bugs day” for both parents and students to familiarize themselves with software, while teachers spend a virtual day collaborating and planning.
Fixx emphasized the school was being careful to consider the responsibilities of parents, who, though they might act as “occasional at-home teaching assistants,” had their own jobs and responsibilities to attend to during the day.
With all the continued uncertainty, and the uncharted and unprecedented nature of educating students under the current circumstances, both Fixx and Scarice promised their schools would do everything possible to keep providing an education to students as long as was necessary.
“Our families have turned to us for an academic advantage and we are going to do our best to fulfill that even during this time of community distancing,” Fixx told The Source.
“I want to assure you that those who care for your children every day in our schools accept the responsibility to help our community through this crisis,” Scarice wrote in his letter. “It is time to see our very best.”
- John Fixx 203-560-1382, firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Beth Coyne 203-430-0745, email@example.com.
Before March break we asked students to take home their books and other materials we anticipated that they would need should this situation become our reality. Now that it has, you will see from the schedules you will receive before Tuesday morning that we are doing all we can as a close-knit school community to stay connected. Teachers will be in touch if further materials are needed. We are targeting safe pick up of any materials between 3:00-5:00 p.m. on Monday but please stay tuned.
- Co-curriculars will continue to enjoy a strong presence in our students’ daily schedules. Getting the students playing, singing, listening, painting, coding and creating will be needed more than ever.
- Physical Education and recess time each day will keep the children active and playful.
- Co-curriculars in the earlier grades will deliver their lesson plans through the primary classroom teacher.
- During and after the first week teachers will move toward having daily class meetings in which students will be invited to join via a Zoom link shared on the daily schedule given to parents.
- Parents will have access to a daily schedule of lessons and activities that the students should complete at their own pace.
- The daily schedule will be a suggested one to follow because we know that children thrive when they are on a schedule.
- If you are also working from home and your work schedule conflicts with what is suggested in any way, you have the flexibility to move things around, but do try to get through all the work that is being prepared and shared with the class each day.
- The daily schedule will include videos and activities from the co-curricular teachers, as well.
- Teachers are all available to communicate one-on-one and will make every effort to speak with their students as needed and to also check in.
- Grades 6-8 grade will have their daily class schedule, as well as options for any extra support and enrichment in core and co-curricular classes.
- Teachers of each discipline will create a lesson for the day or for multiple days. Teachers will communicate the lesson plans to the class and the mode of delivery. You can expect lessons to be delivered on some days in a synchronous fashion using Zoom and some days the work will be asynchronous, where students are following along on a slide deck or finishing up work that is the outcome of a previous lesson. There may be some faculty and disciplines in which a daily check in on Zoom is warranted and some disciplines where that is not the optimal instructional model.
- Students should plan to check their gmail throughout the day for messages, updates and any changes.
- The course work completed will be graded and count toward a student’s final trimester grade.
- Teachers will share specific rubrics and other information about graded assignments.
- Students should know that their effort and independence are needed and their hard work will contribute to stronger academic outcomes.
- Advisors will reach their advisees to communicate each week. This may be done one-on-one or in a group chat.
- This experience and training will prepare our older students for the increasingly collaborative educational life in secondary school, in college, and then in the workplace.
- We are not expecting students and parents to have to learn complicated new software.
- School next week will feel like the first days of school again and you should expect a slow build-up as we all settle into this new routine.
- We are expecting that there may be some connectivity issues at home if there are multiple users online at the same time or there may be updates to browsers that need to occur. Please be patient; teachers will work with your student if they are having issues. We’ll test this out on Tuesday.
- Please be aware that teachers will respond to emails and requests to speak one-on-one throughout the school day, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. After that, we are asking them to shut down and minimize screen time. Similarly, we encourage parents to consider the amount of student screen time that is happening during the school day, after school, and during evening hours.
- Be aware that using video software quickly can deplete battery life of unplugged phones and iPads.
- Software may look different on a phone vs. a computer.
- We are continuing to offer an engaging learning program for our students:
- Providing robust and clear learning experiences
- Designing collaborative learning opportunities as practical: shared docs, phone conversations with classmates, etc.
- For optimal academic productivity, the place where students are working should mimic a classroom. Students should be seated at a desk or a table with minimal distractions, including no phones. Some families will choose to allow their child to read while reclining on a couch or bed while others might have them choose different comfortable locations.
- When in video class sessions, students may be dressed down but should not be in pajamas. Parents of older students should feel comfortable giving their children privacy to be in class during this learning time with teachers and classmates.
- We ask that children take their breaks, enjoy some creative playtime, and eat a healthy snack or meal. We do not want them on their devices all day. This is a great time to enjoy uninterrupted reading time in addition to their regular assignments or working on projects that they can share with their teachers and classmates via Zoom or gmail.
- Again, if a family needs to borrow a school-owned Chromebook to facilitate the online learning done at home, we are happy to loan these out. Please let us know and we’ll make arrangements for you to pick up this week or next week.
- Students receiving additional classroom support will receive synchronous instruction via lessons set up by the learning specialist with whom they work. The learning specialists will also work by phone and Zoom and email with their students’ parents, as useful, enhancing collaboration.
Head of School
Dear Country School Community,
Although our students are on break until next week, my guess is that right now your lives are in anything but tranquil vacation mode: secondary school students are taking classes remotely or not at all, older children in college are suddenly back home, and you might be working from home for who knows how long! This time of fluidity demands flexibility, understanding, and patience.
Rest assured, we are full-STEAM ahead, planning for as seamless a return as possible for everyone in our community. Country School administration, staff and faculty leaders have been working collaboratively and creatively in the face of COVID-19, and we are confident that when remote classes begin next week, our students will enjoy this new experience.
And while distance learning is being planned, the campus has been getting spruced up, with new grass seed dropped, hallways and some bathrooms being painted, and the solar project nearing completion. I also noticed the buds coming out in the orchard last year’s 8th Grade gave us. Spring is coming!
Expect by mid-week an update regarding next week. For now, enjoy vacation.
John D. Fixx
Head of School
Dear Country School Community,
We hope everybody is enjoying their vacations. I send this coronavirus communication so families and employees know what has been decided at the level of faculty leadership, administration and Board.
Although we have no identified cases of COVID-19 yet in our school population of students, parents or employees, to keep our students fully engaged in learning, we are ready to move from planning to action.
With the new guidelines issued by the CDC to slow the spread of coronavirus in our schools and in the United States and after conversation with local health authorities, we will employ our distance learning model for at least two weeks at the end of our vacation. After that we will monitor the situation and, giving families as much notice as possible, potentially resume on-campus school or extend the distance learning model a week or two at a time until medical experts judge the contagion risk to be decreasing.
We are extending March break for students for two more days, Monday and Tuesday, March 23 and 24 and and beginning the distance-learning approach on Wednesday, March 25. Teachers and all employees will gather remotely and in person March 23 and 24 for fine-tuning of distance learning professional development.
Although I write this at a time that other Connecticut schools, especially in the shoreline area, have shown little incidence of coronavirus, the guidance I have been given by medical experts is that they anticipate the situation getting perhaps much worse.
Given the timing of our spring break some medical professionals feel the risk of exposure within our community is higher than in our neighboring public schools. We want to make sure as an example of leadership in action that The Country School is doing everything to slow the spread of the virus and doing nothing to amplify its impact. Our hope is to allow the medical establishment to respond appropriately to treat people in real need. Although children seem to have greatly reduced reaction to COVID-19, they can act as vectors or carriers, spreading the virus when they and their parents don’t even know they have been exposed.
As we offer off-campus alternative modes of instruction, we will remain flexible as our students, families and teachers experience this during an intense period of cultural and medical adjustment. If necessary, we will discuss extending this year or next academic year and instituting additional creativity such as enhanced summer study packets. One challenge will be to maintain the distinctive support of our school community when we don’t have the physical proximity to which we have become accustomed. And we will need to express empathy towards each other if various members of our school community are confronting COVID-19. And we thank the medical professionals within our school community and alumni body who are already serving on the front lines.
Balancing health, safety, and academic integrity has been an invigorating challenge. For 65 years of strong schooling, The Country School has tried to lead through educational excellence. As we employ this distance learning model, we have every intention of exceeding our community’s expectations and showing how masterful this extraordinary faculty and our students and parents can be.
Although unnerving, COVID-19 exemplifies how we live our Mission:
Knowing that improvement requires a willingness to take risks...we encourage and support students as they stretch their limits both in and out of the classroom. Through appropriate challenges and reflection, our students learn that adversity offers opportunities for growth.
I find myself especially sensitive to our 8th Graders at this time, so looking forward to their spring term, their sports, the Willy Wonka Musical, Moab and so much more as they prepare to graduate. For all our students, we will follow this evolution carefully and remain committed to getting back to campus as soon as possible. But our students have every right to be disappointed and even angry as they absorb this hard lesson about life’s vicissitudes – something still not always easy for us as adults to accept.
This letter builds on the earlier coronavirus letter I sent on March 4 that described our plans for instruction by electronic means, phone calls and such. I send this letter to give families a chance to consider their options and their child care needs, as well as preparing to serve as educational collaborators with our teachers.
Please take care of each other. For your flexibility, I thank you and I make myself always available to you by phone at 203-560-1382 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information from the CDC, WHO, and the State of CT; suggestions for how to speak with children during this health crisis; and links to Country School COVID-19 communications, please visit the communications hub on our website.
John D. Fixx, Head of School, and the Board of Trustees
- Teachers at The Country School have always been ready when school is not in session due to inclement weather. In the past they have maintained the momentum of their curriculum by providing students with assignments to be completed at home. We are using that same approach as our foundation for these preparations.
- Students will be instructed today, tomorrow and Friday to take home whatever materials the teachers will require them to have in the event that school for individual students or for the entire student body cannot begin when March break ends.
- The removal of books and other materials allows the cleaning team to provide an even deeper clean over March break.
- We are making the assumption that all families have computers and printers at home. Seeking equity among our families, if that is not the case, let your primary teacher or advisor know and we will respond as a school.
- Families will want to stock up on paper and ink for home printers.
- But the younger a child is, the more likely it is that parents will need to play at least a facilitating role in the process.
- Teachers are planning 14 days of curriculum content if distance learning comes to pass.
- Since our PreSchool-4th Grade students do not have Country School email accounts, we are considering teacher-created video lessons sent to parent emails for students to watch. Those students would then have follow-up practice to complete the lesson.
- As much as possible, our distance learning solutions require the students to be as self-sufficient as possible. We are not expecting parents to have to teach their child seven hours a day. (One parent joked that he can’t do it anyway because his child is already smarter than he is.)
- We are relying on parents to serve as our partners, ensuring that their child’s learning remains intact. We also recognize that this “job” should not replace real day jobs.
- As much as possible, we are not expecting students, parents, and teachers to have to learn complicated new software.
- We are likely to use Vimeo for PreS - 4th Grade and for 5th-8th Grade students with Google accounts, Google Classroom and Google Hangouts. Just this morning, in fact, Google notified all their schools that they are making their enhanced distance learning capabilities available for no additional fee at this time.
- Students in the older grades will experience a combination of synchronous and asynchronous distance learning.
- Synchronous learning mimics a true classroom experience, with all students actively present via video and/or audio simultaneously.
- Asynchornous learning takes place at the convenience of each student. Examples: A teacher edits work that a student has already submitted or a student watches a video a teacher assigned.
- Just as if school were actually in session, students and teachers will be expected to be available from 8:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, with teachers extending their availability until 4 p.m. if needed. Some students will work more quickly, some more slowly.
- To ensure decorum, we ask that all students be in appropriate clothing and, when videoing or photographing, remain in a common room of their home, such as kitchen, dining room, living room or study. But, yes, every day can be a dress down day...
- How can I access books when libraries and bookstores are closed?
- What are the expectations of students during this time of distance learning?
- What will students need to participate in distance learning?
- How will we decide when to return to in-person classes on campus?
- What will happen with extracurricular commitments?
- Can my child have playdates or do schoolwork with friends?
- Free audible books for children-teens, including classics.
- The Connecticut library system has thousands of ebooks and audiobooks available for free - check it out!
- You will need your library card/number - if anyone does not have a library card, please let me know, and I will see what can be done.
- You can use these systems on a Kindle, iPad, or phone.
- LION: Libraries Online
- Libby, by OverDrive - an app for library ebooks and audiobooks
- Books in the public domain through Project Gutenberg:
- Once a book reaches a certain age (typically 70 years after the death of the author), it enters into the public domain. This means many books we consider “classics” are available for free (legally) online.
- Enjoy scifi? Try some H.G. Wells: The Time Machine by HG Wells - Free Ebook
- How about horror? Bram Stoker’s Dracula might be right for you! Dracula by Bram Stoker - Free Ebook
- In the mood for a love story? Try the queen of the marriage plot, Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Free Ebook or Emma by Jane Austen - Free Ebook
- Other children’s “classics” you might have missed along the way:
- Once a book reaches a certain age (typically 70 years after the death of the author), it enters into the public domain. This means many books we consider “classics” are available for free (legally) online.
- Love Your Local (online):
- RJ Julia’s is providing free shipping when you order through their website. Local businesses are really hurting right now, so if you’re able, support your neighborhood bookshop! RJ Julia Booksellers | A great place to meet books
- Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other larger book retailers:
- Remember what might already be in your home:
- You might have books sitting on shelves that you’ve always meant to read but passed over. Your parents might have books that they’d recommend that you’re now old enough to really appreciate. Or, you might have a few favorite books that you’d like to re-read and get to know even better.
Students are required to be fully engaged in their coursework by:
- Participating in distance-learning classes for 5th Grade and Middle School students online courses during their regularly scheduled class times or asynchronously as directed by the teacher,
- Completing assigned work packets for 4th Grade and younger students,
- Completing all assignments and projects just as they normally would,
- Responding to emails,
- Committing to being flexible to this temporary learning experience.
All students will need time and space to focus on their daily learning experiences. Older students will need a computer with audio and video capability as well as a secure and reliable Internet connection. If your family is unable to accommodate a remote learning environment for your child, please contact John Fixx, Head of School, who will work with Bill Leidt, Director of Technology, to ensure your child is appropriately equipped.
The health and well-being of our community is our highest priority. In an effort to protect our students and adults and to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the burden on medical facilities, we will follow the guidelines set by local and national authorities. This is an evolving situation that we will constantly revisit to make the best informed choices for our community.
- Coronavirus Meditations and Teaching for Practicing in a Pandemic (Mindfulness)
- That Discomfort You're Feeling Is Grief (Collective loss of normalcy)
- www.whatsyourgrief.com (See “Taking care of your mental health during coronavirus”)
- Grief and COVID-19: Mourning our bygone lives (COVID-19 as a psychological crisis with collective losses)
Articles with suggestions and tips about talking with your children during this time:
- How to Talk to Your Kids about Coronavirus
- Five Ways to Help Teens Manage Anxiety about Coronavirus
- Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day
- Age Related Reactions to Traumatic Events
- Helping Your Family Cope During Uncertain Times
- My Epidemic Story – A Guided Activity Workbook for Children, Families, Teachers and Caregivers
- Nurturing Resilient Families
- All You Need for Effective and Engaging Online Learning
- Managing Your Mental Health During NCP
- Simple Steps to Manage Anxiety
- 8 Top Tips for Student Success in Online School
- Talking to Children About COVID19: A Parent Resource
- Something Bad Happened: A Kid’s Guide to Coping with events in the News, Dawn Huebner (Ages 6-12. How to process different world events.)
- What To Do When You’re Scared & Worried: A Guide for Kids, James J Crisis (Ages 9-13. A help guide to processing fears and worries.)
- How are you Peeling: Foods with Moods, Saxton Freymann & Joost Elffers (Explores how emotions look through pictures of Foods. A good way to talk about emotions with young kids.)
- The Way I Feel, Janan Cain (A good way to talk about emotions with young kids.)
Here are five strategies to build resilience and have reassuring conversations with children.
Stay Positive: Remember to stay calm. Children are intuitive and can easily pick up on the worries and fears of the adults around them. If you show anxiety or fear, child will mostly likely also feel nervous and afraid. Changes to the environment and routines can create uncertainty. Having calm, open discussions can ease emotions around these changes. Continue to check in with how children are feeling. Acknowledge and address their worries rather than ignoring them.
Stick to the facts: It is important to have thoughtful conversations regarding the coronavirus to distill anxiety, worry, or fear. Examine the facts from a reliable source such as the WHO. Consider the child’s age, processing, and emotions to determine how to frame these conversations to ensure children understand. Let them know that the adults are doing everything they can to contain the spread of the virus and help those that are sick. Reassure children if they have additional questions you can look to find the answers. Check in on what children are thinking and address their worries. Discuss that not everything they hear or see is real. It can also be comforting to be reminded that doctors around the world are looking for ways to address the coronavirus and highlight positive news as well.
Consider Media Consumption: When looking online, consider the source and double-check to prevent fake news, and think before sharing. Be mindful of how much media you are checking and minimize how often you are reading stories. Try to keep a healthy balance (both online and offline) in your daily routines and lifestyle.
Eliminate Stigma:It is important to be aware of how the coronavirus is explained to children to avoid any person/group being blamed. Also, to communicate that if someone has a fever or cough does not mean this person has the coronavirus.
Boost Your Coping Strategies: Change or uncertainty can create some levels of worry or anxiety. When the worry becomes too big it is important to recognize and manage these emotions. There are a variety of strategies to calm emotions or modify thinking to improve outlook and overall well-being. Coping strategies can include: positive self-talk, singing, dancing, reading, drawing, music, movies, creation of a gratitude list, meditation, yoga, coloring, exercise, cooking/baking, talking to a friend or family member, or doing other activities that are fun or provide joy, improving general well-being.
A small dose of worry is a normal. Continue conversations providing care for children. If you find additional support is needed, please reach out to one of the school counselors who can refer you to outside counseling or to schedule time with you or your child to make a plan on how to support them during this time.
-taken from Shanghai American School