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COVID-19 Resources

Counseling and Wellness

At Calvert, we understand that the world around us can be stressful and even frightening at times for our students. To ensure the mental wellbeing of each of our students, Calvert has created a guide for parents to reference when necessary. See below for answers to some common questions, as well as what you can do to help your student reduce their anxiety during this time.
What plans are in place to minimize student anxiety?
 
  1. Clear, specific, visible, safety protocols established and enforced.
  2. Faculty and staff will model informed calm to students.
  3. Faculty are prepared to notice and listen to student distress, share accurate information, and refer students to school counselors if warranted.
  4. Character classes in the lower school and advisories in the Middle School teach and promote age-appropriate coping skills. These include problem-solving, distress tolerance, conflict resolution, and realistic thinking.
  5. Opportunities to visit the school nurse, Katie Macsherry, Lower School Counselor, Cecelia Parker, and Middle School Counselor, Terri Merwin. They provide one to one conversations, parent communication, and referrals for outside support if needed.
  6. Parents have access to Calvert’s plans for safety and resources to reassure students at home. Parents are also welcome to contact the school counselors with concerns and to request in-school interventions.


Who to reach out to for additional questions and resources:

Lower School Counselor:

Cecelia Parker
cparker@calvertschoolmd.org

Middle School Counselor:
Terri Merwin
tmerwin@calvertschoolmd.org or 410-243-6054x110

School Nurse:
Katie Macsherry
kmacsherry@calvertschoolmd.org




Frequently Asked Questions

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: My child is scared to go back to school. How can I help him/her feel at ease? 

    Starting school or starting a new school year can be stressful at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic. You can make him feel at ease by having an open conversation about what it is that’s worrying him and letting him know that it’s natural to feel anxious. Children may feel nervous or reluctant to return to school, especially if they have been learning at home for months. Be honest – for example you could go through some of the changes they may expect at school, such as needing to wear forms of protective clothing like masks. Children may also find it difficult being physically distanced from friends and teachers while at school – you could encourage them to think about other ways to bond and stay connected. Reassure children about safety measures in place to keep students and teachers healthy and remind children that they can also help prevent germs spreading by washing their hands with soap and coughing or sneezing into their elbow. Remind children about the positives – that they will be able to see their friends and teachers (if they are physically returning to the classroom) and continue learning new things.
  • Q: How can I encourage my child to follow precautions (such as frequent handwashing, physical distancing, etc.) at school without alarming him/her?

    One of the best ways to keep children safe from COVID-19 and other diseases is to simply encourage regular handwashing. It doesn't need to be a scary conversation. Sing along with their favorite song or do a dance together to make learning fun. Make sure to teach them about how even though germs are invisible, they could still be there. When children understand why they need to wash their hands, they’re likely to continue doing so. You can also show children how to cover a cough or a sneeze with their elbow, and ask them to tell you if they start to feel like they have a fever, cough or are having difficulty breathing.
  • Q: Is there anything I should look out for as my child starts back at school?

    In addition to checking in on your child’s physical health and learning when she goes back to school, you should also keep an eye out for signs of stress and anxiety. COVID-19 may be impacting your child’s mental health, and it’s important to demonstrate that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times. When in doubt, empathy and support are the way to go.
  • Q: Calvert is requiring the wearing of masks, which is making my child feel more nervous. What should I say to him/her?

    Approach this conversation with empathy, saying that you know she is feeling anxious about coronavirus, but that it’s healthy to talk about our worries and emotions. Children may also get upset or frustrated if they are finding it hard to wear masks, especially when running or playing. You can reassure your children that lots of adults are working hard to keep your family safe, but emphasize that it's important we all follow the recommended measures to take care of more vulnerable members of our community.
  • Q: How can I gently check in to see how my child is coping?

    It’s important to be calm and proactive in your conversations with children – check in with them to see how they are doing. Their emotions will change regularly and you need to show them that’s okay. Whether at school or at home, caregivers can engage children in creative activities, such as playing and drawing, to help them express and communicate any negative feelings they may be experiencing in a safe and supportive environment. This helps children find positive ways to express difficult feelings such as anger, fear or sadness. As children often take their emotional cues from the key adults in their lives – including parents and teachers – it is important that adults manage their own emotions well and remain calm, listen to children’s concerns, speak kindly and reassure them.
There have also been concerns that incidents of stigmatization and bullying may increase when children return to school, due to some of the misinformation around COVID-19. You should explain that the virus has nothing to do with what someone looks like, where they are from or what language they speak. If they have been called names or bullied at school, they should be encouraged to tell a trusted adult. Remind your children that everyone deserves to be safe at school and online.

The above information is adapted from the UNICEF website.



Tips for Parents Supporting Students with Anxiety

List of 7 items.

  • Listen and validate feelings.

    Even the most distressing feelings can open up a dialogue for problem solving.
  • Be honest rather than reassuring.

    Initial reassurance is good but blanket statements (‘everything will be fine’) can be invalidating. It is preferred to acknowledge risks while emphasizing how precautions reduce those risks and how students can feel good about coming back to school given all of the thought and planning that has gone in to protecting them. If students continue to seek reassurance, encourage tolerance of uncertainty and try using realistic thinking skills or learn to problem-solve in order to come up with solutions to their own concerns. “What can you do to calm yourself down?” or “What options do you instead of just avoiding?”
  • Encourage a tolerance of fear and anxiety, rather than avoidance.

    Fear naturally encourages a desire to run away and running away (avoidance) maintains anxiety in the long-run. In contrast, facing feared situations promotes resilience and reduces anxiety in the long-run by helping students realize they are capable of coping. Here are some resources: Facing Fears (Anxiety Canada website) and My Anxiety Plan (MAP).
  • Praise and reward students for being courageous.

    As students returning to school, praise them for showing courage in the face of fear and let them know that being brave and courageous will help them get through this together.
  • Model good coping behaviors: calm, honest, and caring.

    Students will look to parents and teachers to be positive role models through this process. How we handle our fears, our own stress, and how we act throughout the day will impact how students assess their own situations and react.
  • Take care of yourself and know your limits.

    Our capacity to support others is limited by our own physical and mental well-being (sleep, exercise, nutrition, supportive community).
  • Stay informed.

    The more you are clear and current with information about school and community health, the more guidance and confidence you can give your child.
Calvert School is a coed independent lower and middle school.

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