Remember the thrill of putting the kids back on the bus after their long summer vacation and then going home to listen to … SILENCE? The good old days of 2019, when the most stressful part of going back to school was sourcing the unruled notebook paper on the school supplies list?
Like pretty much everything else, COVID-19 took the thrill and carefree joy out of back to school and replaced it with a mountain of stress, worry, uncertainty, and anxiety. The 2021 back to school season makes the stress we had in the pre-pandemic days seem like recess. Schools in California are set to return to in-person classes next month, just as the Delta variant has started teaching us a lesson. As the buses start to roll out and collect our innocent little kids, many of whom are too young for vaccinations, how are we supposed to balance our natural concern and stress with the importance of putting knowledge in those spongy minds?
- What will the classroom look like?
- Will everyone wear a mask?
- How good are these kids at catching their coughs and washing their hands?
- What if my child isn’t vaccinated yet?
- Shouldn’t we just continue online for a little while longer?
All of these are valid questions and concerns. Though there is a great deal of anxiety around back to school and COVID-19, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family. Namely, get vaccinated. The CDC recommends that everyone 12 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against COVID-19.
But what about our elementary-aged kiddos? What about our preschoolers? As of now, no COVID vaccines have been approved for this age group, and they’re the ones who need a lot of care, guidance, and gentle reminders to practice hygiene when it’s just a regular old “cold season.”
Schools are working hard to come up with solutions to keep our kids and their employees safe, but this is a new curriculum and we’re not sure what the real test is going to be yet. As parents, friends, employees, and healthcare professionals, we’re in this with you, wondering how this is going to work and how we are supposed to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy – physically AND mentally.
So here are a few things to remember as we navigate back to school season.
For young people, missing significant life events and rites of passage, whether it’s birthday parties or prom, takes a psychological toll,” said Mottsin Thomas, a psychiatrist at bonmente.
“For young people, missing significant life events and rites of passage, whether it’s birthday parties or prom, takes a psychological toll,” said Mottsin Thomas, a psychiatrist at bonmente. “Though we won’t entirely realize the mental health effects of COVID-19 for years to come, we know that kids have been having worrisome mood disturbances that come from quarantine-related isolation. They need their friends back.”
COVID-19 is declining. But mental health issues are on the rise.
Almost everyone is experiencing a little burnout these days, and back-to-school is just the point on the pencil. The best protection you have against COVID-19 is a vaccination, a mask, and social distancing, but the best protection you have against COVID-19 triggered mental health issues is early intervention.