Coping with the Return to School During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Becoming anxious or fearful
  • Feeling guilt or shame
  • Having a hard time concentrating
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling depressed or alone
  • Developing eating disorders and self-harming behaviors
  • Beginning to abuse alcohol or drugs
  • Becoming sexually active
  • Learning problems, including lower grades and more suspensions and expulsions
  • Difficulty regulating their emotions and focusing on learning
  • Lack the skills necessary to regulate their behaviors and recognize their own actions
  • Inflexibility and outbursts for no apparent reason
  • Increased use of health services, including mental health services
  • Increased involvement with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems
  • Long term health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease
  • Remember the classroom starts with you
  • Remain calm and deal with your own worry and anxiety
  • Use coping skills to calm yourself
  • Children will follow both verbal and non-verbal reactions
  • Incorporate SEL into your lesson plans
  • Plan for how to manage students who refuse to wear masks
  • Don’t complain in front of students
  • Behavior is communication
  • Behavior has function
  • Behavior occurs in patterns
  • Behavior can be changed
  • The goal is self-awareness and self-regulation
  • Model emotional regulation
  • Recognize and validate emotions
  • Have strategies in place for de-escalating
  • Use those strategies for yourself
  • Teach brain health
  • Incorporate mindfulness practices
  • Teach and model empathy and active listening skills
  • Normalize emotions
  • Practices such as check-ins, circles, greetings, and sharing will help to create a sense of security and routine
  • Provide consistency and structure
  • Create new classroom rules or contracts
  • Reframe discipline problems into teachable moments
  • Timely interventions in conflicts and hurtful exchanges
  • Support families by relaying positive information and resources
  • Teaching and modeling of empathy and active listening skills
  • Explore stress-management strategies to diffuse tense situations and help students process feelings in the moment
  • Give students opportunities to demonstrate their strengths
  • “Good morning, Charlie! It’s great to see you today.”
  • “Charlie, you’ve made my day by coming to my class.”
  • “Charlie, just checking in with you to see how it’s going. Anything I can help you with?”
  • “Charlie, I have to tell you…I am so appreciative of your positive attitude. You’ve really changed things around. I am so proud of you.”
  • Paralleling
  • Proximity
  • Posture
  • Pace of response
  • Eye contact
  • Facial expressions
  • Tone of voice
  • Gestures
  • Extended exhales
  • Length of sentences
  • Taped pacing area
  • Gallery walks
  • Face covering breaks
  • www.gonoodle.com- a great source for movement and mindfulness videos
  • Think-Mix-Pair-Share activities
  • Walk and Talk
  • Identify yourself
  • Immediately assure the parent you are not calling for a negative reason
  • Tell them the good news
  • Resist the temptation to talk about challenges
  • Do not energize negative behaviors. Even if you are dealing with negative behavior from this student, this is not the time to address it.
  • Thank them for their time
  • Play soft music
  • Be present in the hallways during passing time
  • Connect with student during passing time
  • Ring a singing bowl to stop activities
  • Keep students informed of changes to the schedule
  • Post daily schedules
  • Greet students at the door using names
  • Leave a note on the student’s desk
  • Assign mentor to student
  • Warm lighting
  • Increase natural lighting if possible
  • Reduction of florescent lights
  • Sound machines
  • Decrease wall hangings (be mindful of what is hung)
  • Temperature regulation

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Effective School Solutions

Effective School Solutions

Reinventing K-12 Mental Health Care. Effective School Solution partners with school districts to help develop K-12 whole-school mental health programs.