New Jersey has 187,164 total COVID-19 positive cases and 14,064 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 1030 including 83 deaths. Additionally, there are 4 new out of county positive cases that are included in the Non-resident Active Cases listed below.
In-person school instruction plays a critical role in supporting the whole child, not just the academic achievement of students
Social and emotional health of students can be enhanced through schools
According to CDC, social interaction among children in grades K-12 is important not only for emotional wellbeing, but also for children’s language, communication, social, and interpersonal skills. Some students may have experienced social isolation and increased anxiety while not physically being in school due to COVID-19. Resuming in-person instruction can support students’ social and emotional wellbeing. Schools can provide a foundation for socialization among children. When children are out of school, they may be separated from their social network and peer-to-peer social support. Schools can facilitate the social and emotional health of children through curricular lessons that develop students’ skills to recognize and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, appreciate others’ perspectives, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
Mental health of students can be fostered through school supports and services
Schools are an important venue for students to receive emotional and psychological support from friends, teachers, and other staff members. Lengthy school building closures can leave some students feeling isolated from important friendships and support from other caring adults. Schools also provide critical psychological, mental and behavioral health (e.g., psychological counselling, mental and behavioral assessment) services to children who may not have access to these services outside of school. School closures have limited the availability of these services. Furthermore, isolation and uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic can create feelings of hopelessness and anxiety while removing important sources of social support. Some students may have experienced trauma through the loss of a loved one from COVID-19. Increases in anxiety and depression may occur when students do not have the structure and routine that being in school brings to their daily lives. Finally, having opportunities to be physically active through recess and physical education can help improve students’ feelings of anxiety and sadness. These physical activities should be provided regularly to students in a safe and supportive environment that includes physical distancing and strategies to reduce close contact between students.
Continuity of other special services is important for student success
Students who rely on key services, such as school food programs, special education and related services (e.g., speech and social work services, occupational therapy), and after school programs are put at greater risk for poor health and educational outcomes when school buildings are closed and they are unable to access such school health programs and services. During periods of school building closures, students had limited access to many of these critical services, potentially widening educational and health disparities and inequities.
Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolve. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, World Health Organization at www.who.int, New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net and also like us on Facebook.