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Local families anxious about start of school year during COVID-19 pandemic

Cleveland Clinic Pediatric Psychologist Dr. Kate Eshleman says it’s important for parents to be open and honest with their children.

OHIO, USA — Families across Northeast Ohio are weighing their back to school options. Some districts are offering a learning choice including in-person, virtual or a mix of both but the unknowns about the fall are making parents anxious.

Parent Jennifer Derk has several concerns.  “One is getting sick, if my boys get sick, God forbid, if I get sick, what’s going to happen to my boys but mostly I’m just concerned about what school is going to look like in the fall.”

Derk is not only a mother but a preschool teacher so her sons will be back in the classroom.

“Being a teacher myself I know that kids learn best brainstorming with each other, small group work, talking with teachers, so I’m nervous about what it’s all going to look like,” she explains.

Cleveland Clinic Pediatric Psychologist Dr. Kate Eshleman says it’s important for parents to be open and honest with their children.

“Communicate with kids, tell them what we know and acknowledge what we don’t know,” she explains.  “Acknowledging that we feel stressed about the situation  and sharing with our kids, how we’re coping with that.”

Dr. Eshleman  says information can be helpful to curb parent anxiety.  “Read the information that the school is providing, seek out additional information, if you feel like you need it and don’t overdo it.”

She says talking with friends and hearing what other people are doing and how they're making their choices can help as well.

“I think it’s very hard to know what’s right or wrong so I would encourage parents to be kind to themselves, this is unknown territory,” explains Dr. Eshleman.