The Vernon School District is developing a plan to support students whose parents work in essential services. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Kids of North Okanagan’s essential workers supported

School district working on education plan, offering tips for managing stress and anxiety amid COVID-19

Plans are being made to ensure children of essential service providers still get an education.

The Vernon School District is collecting data to develop a plans to support students whose parents work in health care and emergency services.

“As directed by the Minister of Education, our district has begun planning to ensure continuity of learning and we are developing plans to maintain some level of service for children of people who are performing essential services across our province – like medical health professionals, first responders, pharmacists and critical infrastructure workers,” said Superintendent Joe Rogers.

The district is also sharing ways to manage stress and anxiety and support children.

“The COVID-19 pandemic may be a very stressful and frightening time for our children,” said Rogers. “While it is important to remember that fear and anxiety about disease is normal, excessive worry is not.”

All individuals will respond differently during stressful times, and anger, confusion and guilt are common ways children respond to world events. However, there are many things parents can do to support kids during these extraordinary times.

Signs of unhealthy stress include, significant fear or worry, change in sleeping patterns, change in diet or eating patterns, change in overall health, and even substance abuse.

“When talking to our kids about the current situation, a solutions focused approach is crucial,” said Rogers, noting things being done to help the situation and that life will return to normal.

Some ways to support children include routines, role modelling calmness, fact-based discussions in a calm and reassuring tone, focusing on positive, limiting social media and news watching, proper nutrition and sleep.

“Younger children may scare more easily than older children so focusing on the positive can be very helpful,” said Rogers, citing the American television personality, Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers): “when I was a boy, I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, look for the helpers, you will always find people that are helping.”

Since children are looking to us to see how we react, Rogers reminds parents that if they are struggling with stress and anxiety over this pandemic, then it is important that you also seek help.

Local supports:

– Kids help phone: 1-800-668-6868

– Child Youth and Mental Health: (250) 549-5404

– School counsellors: after the spring break, please contact your local school

– Crisis Line: 1-888-353-2273

– Family Resource Centre: (250) 545-3390

– NOYFSS: (250) 545-3572

READ MORE: Vernon district prepares for school closures

READ MORE: City of Vernon closes all recreation facilities


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

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