Helping children cope with returning to NY schools amid pandemic


ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Transitioning from online to in-person learning amid a pandemic may be stressful for your children according to a local child psychiatrist from Arnot Health.

For the past few months, students went online to go to school. However, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s address last Wednesday, schools may be opening in the near future. Gov. Cuomo announced that the State would make a decision in the first week of August whether they’ll reopen schools in the fall.

Outpatient child psychiatrist, Dr. William George, suggests that many children struggle with drastic changes from their usual routine. He said uncertainty can make anyone feel anxious not just children.

“Most kids do struggle with difficultly when their situation is unknown and stressful,” said George. “I think all kids struggle a little bit when something is drastically different change from their typical norm because it’s something met with uncertainty which causes any kind of anxiety in anybody.”

Dr. George gives parents some advice on what to look for as far as warning signs of anxiety and stress in your children.

“Sometimes subtle changes in their mood,” said George. “Feeling more irritable, aggressive or talking back. The other could be a lot of anxiety symptoms can sometimes present as physical symptoms of headaches, upset stomach, nauseousness a lot of those things, so those are other things to look at.”

He suggests open communication between parents and children over any uncertainties. Also knowing exactly what the new normal in schools will be like should help reassure your children.

“Try and talk to your children about the situation and how things are going for them,” suggested George. “Keep themselves safe but also keeping their mental wellbeing in check. Maybe work on a different way of approaching school whether it’s doing some partial days or maybe going three days and not going.”

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