Expert: Children could have anxiety about returning to school

MILTON, Mass. — As the pandemic continues, a lot of changes are happening quickly for all those involved in school communities.

Teachers and other educators are about to become eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, 80 percent of districts according to the state have some form of in-person learning and by April the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education wants to start bringing students back full-time for classroom instruction. Such change comes with joy for kids like Ashton Bate of Milton.

“I learn better in the classroom,” Bate said.

That said, he’s a bit nervous about what’s next.

“It might be hard getting used to all at once,” added the 5th grader.

His mother said the district recently chose to bring all students back full-time in early April

“I think it’s going to be an adjustment for them but they’re kids and they are going to be adjusting easily,” Bonnie Bate said.

In districts like Salem, which has had younger students back for months, the focus has been on mental health.

“We are honoring everybody’s experience but not necessarily assuming that this is a situation that they are very anxious about coming back,” said Tim Potts, District Supervisor of School Psychologists.

The district is spending time focusing on the social and emotional health of students and has asked teachers to be even more observant of issues students may be experiencing.

Dr. Eugene Beresin is the Executive Director of the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital.

He said the children could be anxious for a number of reasons and learning their concerns, and parents controlling their own anxiety is essential to reassuring children.

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