GRAFTON—Cindy Rubenstein, a counselor at Anna Jarvis Elementary School spoke to the Rotary Club of Grafton relating how she and her fellow counselors, teachers and staff are responding to students needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cindy praised the Taylor County School Board, administrators, teachers, and support staff for being proactive and creative in supporting the needs of students and their parents. When the COVID-19 outbreak effectively closed all classroom instruction, it became especially important to make sure the students basic needs were met.
For example, Cindy descripted how she and other counselors identified high-risk students either lacking nutritional meals or concerns of potential abuse or neglect. Since March even thru the summer, she contacted students by calling, delivering food, and making home visits to assure that these students were safe and fed.
Many students were anxious and scared. Being isolated without contact with teachers, other students even the lack of internet service or cell phone access for many children contributed to their feelings of uncertainty and fear.
Taylor County School Board has implemented Tier 3 schedule for the first nine weeks of school. Student will attend in-school classes Monday and Tuesday with remote learning classes on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The schedule is fluid depending upon the county designation level of Covid 19 cases. Parents have the option of Tier 3 schedule, homeschooling, or virtual classes for their children.
Cindy evaluated the three (3) things that makes her confident to send her children to school. First, stringent protocols (i.e. masks, distancing, and hand washing), health safety training and continuous sanitizing of the school facilities that are in place. Second, parents lean on your teachers and counselors for academic, anxiety and stress issues. Counselors and teachers have had to weave even a larger element of social work into their jobs due to this pandemic. Third, everyone is scared. The American Psychiatric Association advises that we admit our fears, talk about our fears with our children and family. Again, lean on your school counselors for coping tools for you and your student.