They were “thrown into the pandemic” environment along with all the others, but Trina Battersby, a parental supports and student services counsellor, told the South East Cornerstone Public School Division’s board members, “we got together quickly through phones and texts to arrange private video chats.”
Those early confabulations resulted in the formation of four groups that would go on to process, respond, provide self-care recommendations and relieve anxieties in the student and family settings, she told them during their May 20 virtual board meeting.
The processing sessions kept the team updated with new family referrals and how to track them while the trauma response group pulled information from school documents to determine who might be in pre-trauma states of anxiety. She said making connections was a challenge, but the effort was worth it since it helped families mitigate their traumas.
“The school counsellors are still out there working and connecting,” she said, using systems such as the Kitchen Connection program and the Social Emotional Learning Plan.
The team’s webinar information modules are to be shared within the school communities.
She said surviving and thriving with supplemental learning opportunities were part of the strategy, along with encouraging good sleeping patterns and limited computer screen time, taking into consideration that with the virus pandemic, more screen time is now required to deliver and receive educational programming.
“Meantime, in the background, we are working on updating student files that will help us work more efficiently once this is over. Fall will be a busy time for us. There are some lonely kids out there who miss their friends,” she said near the end of her report.