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Some Horry County students feeling anxieties due to COVID-19, being back in classroom

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 7:26 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Thousands of Horry County students will make their way back to the classrooms on Tuesday morning.

Much of the talk leading up to this school year has been about COVID-19. But for some students, they’re concerned about how they’ll fair academically because of the pandemic.

For some kids, this will be their first time in a face-to-face learning environment since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Last year, many students were enrolled in the district’s virtual learning program.

One 13-year-old middle school student in Horry County shared her frustrations about the upcoming school year and adjusting to a whole new learning environment.

She said she’s fully aware of the district’s safety policies to prevent possible outbreaks of COVID-19, which includes mitigation efforts to promote social distancing in closer contact spaces, which in some cases will include the cafeteria.

She said she’s OK with the physical changes but doesn’t feel academically ready after she and some of her classmates spent an entire year learning from home.

“I feel like now that we’re going back to school, cause we weren’t in school last year, a lot of kids don’t know a lot of stuff,” she said. “I feel like they should go back and teach some of it. Not all of it but some of it. Just so kids can know.”

Sandy Quast, a licensed professional counselor at Coastal Haven Counseling, said similar concerns are being echoed by other families.

For different reasons, Quast said lots of parents and kids are dealing with anxieties about students being back in the classrooms. Depending on the age level, Quast said kids are experiencing different stressors that were amplified by the pandemic.

One being academic performance, particularly those students who were learning at home.

She said one thing your child can do immediately once at school to help lessen their stress levels is to do simple breathing techniques and journal their thoughts.

“Take some nice slow deep breaths,” Quast said. “You’re slowing your out-breath. That helps your actual physical body, your heart to relax so it can help your mind to relax. Because if your body is all hyped up, your mind will be hyped up also. And I know it sounds simple but you can do it while you’re on the school bus, you can do it while you’re walking into the first class.”

Quast said overall, there is a lot of kids concerned about COVID and how it will impact their school year.

Nancy Inkpen, a student who will be starting her first year of high school, agrees.

She was enrolled in the district’s traditional learning program last year. She’s excited to be returning back inside the classrooms to enjoy the learning environment with her friends.

Inkpen said she feels good about the upcoming school year. She’s just holding on to the hope the pandemic won’t change any of that

“I really hope we can have a normal year for once, a normal freshman year for me,” Inkpen said. “I’m just hoping it will be normal.”

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