Each week in July, we are sharing with you a resource to support you as you plan for the next steps in your child’s education. This week we are sharing information from the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP). On June 25, the AAP released its COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry. This document contains a lot of information and emphasizes that the overall goal should be for children to be able to return to school.
On July 10, the AAP clarified in this statement that the benefits of children returning to school should always be balanced against safety considerations and these decisions should be guided by science, not politics. On July 14, the AAP published this article about school return that is written specifically for families.
We encourage you to look at all of this information and think about ways it could be helpful to your child and family. The sections on Students with Disabilities and Behavioral Health/Emotional Support for Children and Adolescents in the original June 25 article might be particularly helpful. Here are some quotes from those sections to consider:
- “As schools prepare for reopening, school personnel should develop a plan to ensure a review of each child and adolescent with an IEP to determine the needs for compensatory education to adjust for lost instructional time as well as other related services.”
Remember: You are a member of your child’s IEP team and you (and your child if they participate) are the only member who is an expert on knowing your child. We encourage you to be involved in any decision involving your child’s IEP. If the district is providing regular education services, including virtually, your child’s IEP is in effect and must be followed.
- “Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents or youth 10 to 24 years of age in the United States.”
Remember: Suicide rates are increasing among young people, and the stresses of COVID may make this trend even worse. If you are concerned about your child and suicide, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 24/7 or text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. We encourage you to share the crisis text line with any child who is old enough to text. Every community mental health center region in Mississippi is required to offer 24/7 mobile crisis response services. You can find the phone number for the mobile crisis response team in your region at this link.
- “When schools do reopen, plans should already be in place for outreach to students who do not return, given the high likelihood of separation anxiety and agoraphobia in students.”
Remember: Some children may have anxiety that makes it hard for them to return to schools even when it is safe for them to do so. If this happens to your child, you can ask the school for a behavior intervention plan that helps everyone work together to support your child’s return to school. This article explains how these plans can help.