Sunday, March 1, 2020

March 1 Update

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope everyone is well.  Since the COVID-19 virus is dominating the news cycle, I think it would be appropriate to weigh in on this matter as well.  Many of you are aware of the recommendations made by the CDC, the Department of Public Health, and our Superintendent regarding how to keep us physically safe, therefore, I would like to talk a little bit about the social emotional impact this virus outbreak is creating for all of us.

Our work with RULER and SEL teaches us that there are no good or bad emotions.  Emotions exist, and they give us information about how we should behave.  It would be wise for us to be aware of the emotions we are having and use that information to guide us toward our goals.  It is natural for all of us to feel uneasy, worried, or even fearful about the COVID-19 virus.  Even though these feelings are unpleasant, they can benefit us, for example, by making us be vigilant about practicing hygienic behaviors that all of us should be practicing even if there is no outbreak.  However, the emotions we feel about the COVID-19 situation such as nervousness and anxiousness can also cause us to behave in manners that exclude others and divide our community. 

It is so important for all of us adults to remind our students – and ourselves – that although the virus originated from China and some Asian countries are significantly impacted by the spread of the virus, this is not just a Chinese or Asian health issue.  This is human health issue.  Regardless of what each one of us looks like, from where our families originated, or what languages we speak, we all have the capacity to get the illness and to spread it.  Thus, we should remember we all have the responsibility to minimize the chances of passing any transmittable diseases to others.

I heard a great story on NPR this past Friday about how to best communicate information about the COVID-19 virus outbreak to kids.  The link here leads you to the story; the webpage also includes a comic that makes the information accessible for kids.  I believe some of the tone and language used in the story is intended for younger students, however, the information included there is important for older middle schoolers to hear as well.  I hope you will take moment to check it out and share it with your students.

Thank you and enjoy the upcoming week.

James Lin
McCall Middle School

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