A recent report by the Washington Department of Health outlined the possible effects of the pandemic on different individuals based on what type of part they play in society. Two of those areas highlighted are children and educators.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic being an international issue, the report illustrates that every individual and community is affected in some way, shape or form.

According to the report: “Healthcare workers, law enforcement officers, educators, and people recovering from critical care may experience greater behavioral health impacts than the general population.”

Colleen Frerks, Principal at Ancient Lakes Elementary, has seen some effects in her staff and students.

Right away, a couple challenges came to mind for Frerks. The first being that online schooling is challenging for teachers in many ways. The staff love working with children and online schooling takes away from some of the energy they gain through in-person, face-to-face contact.

The online process also makes it harder for teachers to juggle their work and home life because remote learning takes more hours than in person learning, Frerks said. She added there is a misperception on the work and time involved for teachers in online learning. They are having to rewrite lessons to adapt to remote learning, do live video teaching, and record lessons later on for students who could not be present for the live teaching. It is also more of a challenge to keep younger children’s attention.

In some cases however, students are thriving with remote learning, Frerks said. They are even seeing high attendance rates. According to Frerks, just this last week, Ancient Lakes saw 96% of students log on to Google Meet, numbers they didn’t see very often in the past when school was in-person.

According to the report: “Based on population data for Washington and known cycles of common psychological responses to disasters, as well as the latest outcome data specific to COVID-19, we can reasonably expect that approximately three million Washingtonians will experience clinically significant behavioral health symptoms over the next two to five months.

Symptoms of depression will likely be the most common, followed by anxiety and acute stress.”

Students also have resources to help the toll online learning and the pandemic might have on them. In every building in the Quincy School District, counselors do weekly lessons with students in groups as well as provide easy access to one-on-one meetings with counselors.

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