School Health Note:
Our district continues to have regular discussions with Cabarrus Health Alliance officials, and we are continuing to adhere to updates and guidance provided by the State Health and Human Services Department and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).In the event of a student exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, the student will be brought to a designated isolation area and remain under the supervision of an adult and evaluated by a nurse. Parents will be directed to pick up the student. Parents will subsequently be informed of when students will be permitted to return to school.
Parents and community members may wish to consult the Department of Health and Human Services guidance for schools.Here are a few reminders of things you can to do help prevent the transmission of communicable diseases:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
- If your child is sick, please keep them home.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- If a tissue is not available we encourage sneezing into a sleeve or elbow.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Our partner, Cabarrus Health Alliance, is updating information on their website also (www.cabarrushealth.org) and can be reached through the Health Information phone line (704.920.1213) or email HealthInfo@CabarrusHealth.org
If you are looking for resources on talking with your kids about COVID-19 please review this joint guidance document from the National Association of School Psychologists and the National Association of School Nurses.Finally, the National Disaster Distress Helpline offers crisis counseling and emotional support during the COVID-19 outbreak at 1-800-985-5990 or through this link.Thank you for your patience as we work through this evolving situation.
Helping Children Cope with Changes in Routines
We recognize that this is an uncertain and challenging time for students and families. Anxiety is a natural response to change for children and adults, especially when our sense of control is low. In addition, new experiences and new routines can also create a sense of apprehension for parents and children as we return to school.
It is important to remember that children are resilient. They will naturally look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful situations. It is imperative that parents encounter children and acknowledge their concerns without fostering a sense of panic in them.
Teaching children adaptive skills will give them some sense of control and may help reduce their anxiety (as well as other strong unwanted emotional responses). Families and school staff can model compassion, flexibility and the ability to solve problems.
Here are some things you can do to help increase your child’s sense of psychological safety (informed by this article from the National Association of School Psychologists):
Stay Calm, Listen, and Offer Reassurance
Caring adults have a tremendous influence on children. It is important that we address their concerns with an awareness of our own emotional responses.
Be a Role Model
Children will react to and follow our reactions. Remember that they are observing and learning from the example we set.
Maintain a Healthy Routine
Keeping a regular schedule provides children with a sense of control, predictability, and calm.
Monitor Viewing of Media and Social Media
Continuously watching news reports on television related to COVID-19 can increase fear and anxiety. In addition, social media has become a source of rumor and misinformation that requires parent attention and correction.
Explain Simple Safety Tips
Stay up-to-date on facts related to the virus and ensure your children remain aware of the things they can do to decrease the risk of infection and transmission. The CDC offers information at this site: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Take Time to Talk
Let your children’s questions guide your conversation. Answer their questions truthfully in an age appropriate fashion without unnecessary details.
We strongly encourage families to stay connected with your school counselors, nurses, psychologists and social workers if you have concerns about your child's well-being during challenging transitions.
Grief and Loss with COVID-19
Unwanted Emotional Responses to the COVID-19 Closure
Grief and Loss are very complicated forces for all of us to attempt to understand. Most of us are aware of the sense of grief that we feel when we experience the death of a loved one or cherished pet. But there are other forms of grief that result from a variety of loss situations. During the COVID-19 quarantine we have seen many of these for students and families. Our students have missed out on the chance to be together and share experiences in our classrooms and halls. Athletes in spring sports have effectively seen their seasons ended suddenly and unexpectedly. Students expecting to go to prom this week, or college visits last month, or any number of “rite of passage” activities know that these will not occur in any format that they and their families had hoped for or anticipated.
These are all forms of loss. In addition, the new experience of having a lack of predictable routines can also create a sense of loss. Most of us-- students, parents, school staff-- depend on having a sense of certainty and predictability in our lives. This could be as simple as sitting with a group of friends for lunch or leaving early for school once a week so you can get a coffee on your way in.
However, we are not helpless as we encounter a sense of grief for the things we did not get to experience this spring and for the loss of certainty in our lives we need.
Here are a few things you can do starting now:
- Be honest about your feelings. Whatever your sense of loss might be it is important to remember it is valid. It doesn’t need to be qualified and compared to the suffering of someone else. If you have a sense of sadness about any loss you experience that is okay. Likewise, if you are not greatly impacted emotionally, that is okay as well.
- Seek supportive connections. Despite the requirement that we engage in social distancing, our current cohort has more remote access to people who love and care about us than any generation before in circumstances like this. Face time, phone calls, texting are all forms of interactions which may not be ideal but do offer an opportunity to connect with our friends and families. It is also important to be sure to connect with people who can help build you up and encourage you to thrive.
- Build healthy routines. Engage in some form of physical activity. This almost always helps people release their stress. Also, limit your consumption of news and social media. Be sure to get enough sleep as this will help your mood. Stay on point with your schoolwork and do things you find meaningful.
- Get help if you need it. If you are in great distress, talk with a caring adult about options for community-based counseling and emotional supportive services. Many providers are engaging in tele-health practices to support people who are finding the COVID-19 closures to be highly distressing.
Most importantly, remember You Are Not Alone. Whoever you are reading this, there are people who love and care for you. We will get through these difficult times. We are in this situation together.
School Health Partners
Cabarrus Health Alliance School Health Program
The school nurses are registered, public health school nurses employed by the Cabarrus Health Alliance. Through a contractual agreement, a school nurse is assigned to each traditional, public elementary, middle, and high school in Cabarrus County for 7.5 hours per day following the teacher calendar. Nurses are also assigned to provide nursing oversight and consultation at the alternative school settings.
The Cabarrus Health Alliance School Health Program began a "nurse in every school" in 1999. Since that time the School Nurse program in this county has become what school administrators want, teachers expect, students need, parents demand, and the community is accustomed to.
Benefits of the Program
- Fewer children leave school before the end of the day due to medical reasons when a nurse is on campus
- Parents can worry less about their children who have chronic illness when a school nurse is there
- School nurses work to ensure that students are happy, healthy, in class, on task, and ready to learn
- Schools with full-time nurses can help students with chronic illnesses better manage their disease and decrease time out of school
- The work school nurses do contributes to healthier students and a safer school environment
- When students manage their chronic illness it can have a positive impact on their success at school
Achieving the highest level of well-being, academic success and lifelong learning of students