Responsibility Open Schools to Help Protect Kids
This update is going to be hard to read at times. A lot of what I have been seeing, reading, and being forwarded paints a grim picture of the trauma kids are going through right now. The appropriate word is trauma and not hard times or challenges or disruptions or setbacks.
We’re actually all going through a collective trauma that is going to affect more and more people, especially children. That’s why it’s critical to get children out of the house and around other caring adults. The best place for that is school. This protects them and helps parents who are struggling to keep it together.
Teachers make up over 20% of the reports of abuse and neglect of children. Without the watchful and consistent eyes of teachers, the conditions that kids find themselves are deteriorating. School also provides the needed food that kids are probably not getting due to neglectful parents. It’s time to open the schools back up.
Kids are suffering as the collective trauma of shelter in place goes into its 8th week. It’s clear from the crisis lines, ER’s, and parents groups, that kids are taking the brunt of the trauma of stressed-out parents and in the worst case, physical and sexual abuse. The normal mandatory reporter network of teachers (over 20% of reports) and after school programs have been dismantled. This leaves the most vulnerable without a voice.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration saw a fivefold increase at its National Helpline in March. The Crisis Text Line says its volumes are up 40% in the pandemic, to about 100,000 conversations a month. For the first time ever, minors make up half of the visitors to the National Sexual Assault Hotline. The shelter at home order does not mean safe at home.
Scroll through a parent support group on Facebook and you’ll see the sure signs of stressed-out parents having a negative impact on their children. The stress and strain of work, kids at home, and homeschooling has already taken its toll on Generation C. You’ll see stressed our parents lashing out at traumatized kids who don’t have the coping skills to handle this type of stress.
Heck, most adults don’t have the coping skills to handle the triple whammy of isolation, uncertain income, and teaching their kids. Any opening of the economy would require the opening of schools and afterschool programs. Where else will the working parents put their kids?
Kids need to get back to a normal, outside of the house routine where additional caring adults can help share the burden of overburdened parents. It’s unacceptable to assume that parents can work, take care of kids, and homeschool them. Even otherwise calm and rational parents are buckling under the stress and strain of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. The most equipped, consistent, and trained placed to afford the help and support needed is school.
Teachers make up over 20% of the reports of abuse and neglect to child protective services. Teachers are one of the only other non-family member adults who consistently sees a child. It’s vital that the social safety net of school be brought back to stem the tide of escalating trauma that kids are experiencing. It will help everyone and is vital to opening the economy.
Jobs and Business Support
- Half the world’s workers, some 1.6 billion people, could lose their jobs because of this pandemic, the International Labour Organisation: We’re getting to a tipping point where the risk/reward for staying in lockdown will start to slide toward more deaths.
Vulnerable Populations/Population Health
- With kids stuck at home, ER doctors see more severe cases of child abuse: Educators were responsible for 21 percent of the 4.3 million referrals made in 2018. The highest mandatory reporter segment.
- Pods for Coronavirus Patients May Work Best as Temporary Housing for Homeless People: shelter stability along with food and healthcare stability, are essential human needs during times like this.
- For the First Time Ever, Minors Make Up Half of Visitors to National Sexual Assault Hotline: For kids that are abused “stay at home” does not mean “safe at home.” We’re going to need to plan for ramping up mental health services as soon as we can.
- Changing views on mental and substance use disorders: An interview with Patrick Kennedy: It is inevitable that the global pandemic, compounded by the financial crisis, will have a material impact on the behavioral health of society.
- We have begun the dreaded third quarter of isolation, when — yes — things get weird: In studies of people isolated in submarines, space stations or polar bunkers, researchers have found there appears to be an inflection point where the frustration and hardship of being cooped up inside get suddenly harder to bear. That’s around ¾ the way through the mission. Despite the third-quarter phenomenon and other ill-effects, many people who experience isolation once want to do it a second time. About half of those who overwinter in Antarctica want to go back, Dr. Norris says, as well as nearly 100 percent of astronauts.
- Parents ‘Cannot Cope with This Insanity’ While Homeschooling Kids During Pandemic: This bears out in a lot of parent groups where moms are starting to share the overwhelming amount of stress and strain they are going through. This is especially true for the new homeschooling reality, which most parents are ill-equipped to handle along with work.
- Flood Of Calls And Texts To Crisis Hotlines Reflects Americans’ Rising Anxiety: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration saw a fivefold increase at its National Helpline in March. The Crisis Text Line says its volumes are up 40% in the pandemic, to about 100,000 conversations a month.
- Experts caution ‘COVID slide’ looming for children out of school: “It’s kind of a double whammy of starting to forget and losing that kind of academic mindset of being out of school, and missing out on a couple of important months of instruction,” said Megan Kuhfeld, a research scientist at the Northwest Evaluation Association’s Collaborative for Student Growth Research Center. “Come fall … teachers may have students in their classrooms who are grade levels apart in their learning.”
- Download Cards, “eCommerce”, and Covid Commerce: Soon there won’t be anything called “eCommerce”, or any sharp distinction between online or offline merchandising for most of what we buy. I think this should be obvious to anyone who spends any time in this world. The COVID lockdown has accelerated this transition; not because it’s tilting more transactions towards the internet, but because it’s making really clear that no one actually cares about the difference between online versus offline.
Things to Ponder or Give a Try
- The best board games to play with your quarantined housemates: or family. Board games and puzzles are making a big comeback.
- QuarantineFiction: Write your way out of quarantine
- People Constantly Underestimate How Much They Benefit From Being Kind: How compassion unlocks our capacity for self-improvement. Being kind gives you the same endorphin hit as someone being kind to you. In some cases, even more.
Want to Learn More or Help?
Go over to the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF) page for more information. If you have not already done so, please take this survey to tell the task force your thoughts on how we can recover from this.
The Task Force is charged with guiding the City’s efforts through the COVID-19 recovery to sustain and revive local businesses and employment, mitigate the economic hardships already affecting the most vulnerable San Franciscans, and build a resilient and equitable future.