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With the coronavirus mounting a resurgence in areas across the U.S., schools not already using a hybrid schedule to teach students may look to begin virtual learning in their districts.
But by moving lessons online, teachers will lose the in-person connection they have with some students, which could make it difficult to pick up on cues regarding mental health.
“Teachers are translators of emotion,” Dr. Isaiah Pickens, a clinical psychologist who works with teachers and educators to identify and address racial inequality issues and mental health problems in students, told Fox News.
“They are able to see students as an individual and in the context of the classroom.”HEALTHY YOUNG PEOPLE MAY WAIT FOR CORONAVIRUS VACCINE UNTIL 2022, WHO OFFICIAL SAYSLosing the physical classroom, however, doesn’t mean teachers have to lose the connection with their students.
Pickens said teachers will still have plenty of information coming their way from students that could signal a larger issue is going on.
And while the safety of the physical classroom may be gone, there are many ways educators can provide support to their students virtually that might even be more helpful than before.
For those teachers, Pickens recommends looking for the universal signs that could mean emotional distress such as feelings of hopeless, incomplete assignments, low levels of engagement, or not participating in class activities online, or being a disruption like arguing with students in online chats.
BYU-IDAHO STUDENTS CAUGHT CONTRACTING CORONAVIRUS TO DONATE PLASMA FOR CASH WILL 'BE SUSPENDED,' SCHOOL SAYSBeing direct when communicating with the student can help bolster their emotional being or let them know there is help available.
Teachers should reach out directly to the student to let them know they notice a change in attitude, Pickens said.
“Being direct allows students to feel seen,” Pickens said.
It’s also helping to identify students who might need more academic support.
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE“One of the things teachers have been really praising is multiple ways to engage in class – students are engaging a lot more and it’s very easy to be a student by just participating in the chat,” he said.
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