ORLANDO, Fla. - Back-to-school season is especially stressful for families this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic brings on new challenges.
For example, the Gornitzky family is dealing with a lot of change this year. All three children in the family are going back to school this fall. Mom Jacqueline told FOX 35 that "I have three children. I have one that is going to college out of state. I have another son that is going to high school... My youngest is going to 5th grade."
To add to this stress, weeks before school is expected to begin, her children tested positive for coronavirus and had to quarantine. She explained that "it was actually a very big surprise because none of my kids really showed any real symptoms. The only reason that I do know is because my youngest one had a fever and just mother’s intuition. I was supposed to bring my oldest son up to college that day.”
Jacqueline said she is nervous about the school year because "a lot of these kids as we know don’t have any symptoms. So, it’s the fear of getting our family members sick.”
For now, Jacqueline said that her children will be attending virtual school.
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Children's counselor Kristen Nardalillo said that managing the roles of an employee, parent, and teacher is a lot of responsibility.
"Keeping a consistent routine is essential through all of this because kids thrive on consistency. It really provides them with some stability," she said. "Dividing and having different sections of the household is a great idea.”
In order for adults to keep everything on track, Nardalillo recommends writing down a schedule, citing that "adults need guidance just as much as kids do. We definitely need to utilize the technology that we have and use it to our advantage. Scheduling is a great way to bring more balance to work and personal life at home.”
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Keeping lines of communication open on whether students are learning from home or in a classroom is also important. Nardalillo added that "we need to focus instead on educating. Why this is important. Why we need to wear a mask. Why we need to wash our hands. So rather than just saying you need to wear a mask because I told you so and that’s what we need to do. No, let’s sit down and understand what’s the science behind wearing a mask – turn this into an educational experience.”
The key to it all is to take manageable steps so that parents and children can avoid getting overwhelmed. Jacqueline explained that “it’s just a lot of pressure trying to balance school, work, the sickness and everything combined. But we’re doing the best we can and our part to hopefully not let it spread.”
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the rest of the FOX 35 Classroom Survival Guide as schools prepare to reopen.