Parents have been advised should to reach out to the THA Division of Education, Innovation and Energy's Support Services Unit if they become overwhelmed during the pandemic,
The assurance came from school psychologist Marion Kent as she addressed parents virtually on Tuesday during the division’s first virtual panel discussion titled Behind the Mask.
Programme Officer II in the division Vanessa Boyce said the covid19 pandemic has created one of the largest disruptions in the education system in the world affecting one billion learners.
She said as a result, the crisis has caused many countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, to rethink how it provided education to the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
“Since the closure of schools in March 2020, most students have reverted to online learning with a few going back to classes for labs and of course examination. However, many parents still find it difficult to adjust to managing this online world with children.”
Kent said there is a need to be mentally and emotionally well. She said given the pandemic situation, it has been recognised that while some were struggling in the past, it is even worse now.
“We see that with the pandemic, many of us appear to be at greater risk than others to be managing or coping well,” Kent said.
Stress, she said, can be identified as any mental, physical or emotional response to situations that causes our minds and bodies to experience tension. So, because of this, we may likely feel frustrated, nervous, anxious, restless or even angry,”
She reflected on the current life situations which greatly contribute to the core ability to cope.
“The circumstances may include additional responsibilities as parents being teachers at home, social distancing, wearing of masks, having to stay at home, personal care needs such as finances, tension with spouse – various things. Even that simple thing of catching the covid19 virus.”
But just how does one know that they are experiencing something that is overwhelming?
Kent said this is based on thoughts and feelings.
“Our bodies and our reactions tell us. For some, we may realise tat we are forgetting more than normal, having difficulty concentrating or paying attention, or even thinking about one thing over and over. If this is happening, we may also feel sad, empty, alone or even abandoned. Then we may experience our bodies reacting differently, we may possibly find ourselves feeling ill, always tired, getting frequent headaches or even tightness in the chest. Then it may further escalate into us not being able to sleep, our sleep patterns may have become irregular – we may even have difficulty eating or we may realise that we’re either gaining or losing weight taking over by paranoia or even engaging in excessive use of substances.”
She added: “Parents, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re here – the Student Services Support Unit – we’re here for you so we’re asking you to reach out to us. Share your concerns or suggestions about ways that we can be more supportive for and of you.”