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Preparing students mentally for an upcoming school year filled with challenges

Posted at 8:37 PM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-01 13:21:51-04

NEW YORK — The goal to keep students and staff safe in the coming school year is clear but getting there has become a roller coaster for everyone involved.

Genesis Fernandez, an incoming senior at Jose Marti Stem Academy in Union City, knows all about the struggles of remote learning and quarantine.

“It got to a point where I just got over the whole routine and I just broke down,” she told PIX11.

After losing the backend of her junior year, she said her expectations aren't high for the new school year, where a tentative plan will have her in class two days a week and learning remotely for the other three.

“The class is only so big and we could only do the whole 6 feet apart thing for so long and maintain their strict discipline for it,” she said.

As the anxiety mounts for students and their families, medical experts are urging parents to prepare.

“One approach is to really do a needs assessment to step back and say what worked about things last time?,” said Dr. Rebecca Mannis, a learning specialist who has been teaching in-person and remotely for decades.

Mannis said parents know their children best and should use that knowledge to identify stress triggers.

“You can engage your child to find some solutions that really resonate with who your child is and what worked or what was problematic in the past,” she said.

Experts suggest even designating a dedicated workspace for virtual learning could make all the difference.

That structure is the key.

The looming uncertainty has now prompted schools across the country to provide mental health screenings for students.

Schools are also opting to give families the option to exclusively learn remotely, providing relief to many concerned parents.