Parents share concerns over start of virtual school year; local counselor offers advice

Posted at 2:16 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 21:40:58-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Tuesday was the first day for the first of its kind -- a virtual school year - and parents such as Sarah Cameron have said they have concerns.

“It has been stressful,” Cameron said. "I think a lot of parents are nervous about whether their kids will be able to stay engaged with the online format."

However, her children, who attend schools in Chesapeake, have told her they have mixed feelings.

"My middle one said the other day he was a little bit nervous,” Cameron said. “They're both excited to be back in school."

Cameron is not alone. Counselor Danielle Jweid said she has heard the same concerns from other parents throughout Hampton Roads.

“A lot of parents are really nervous about what this is going to look like,” Jweid said. “Parents who are working, [ask], 'What is that going to look like?' Some parents are struggling with the idea of special needs children."

“I think we're very, very fortunate in that we haven't had to negotiate our jobs,” Cameron said.

One thought on Cameron’s mind, she said, was how she would take on the role of being another teacher for her children such as, “how to do these math problems because it's not really my thing.”

The two describe it as going through uncharted waters, but Jweid explained, “I feel like it's a blessing and a curse,” she said, "a curse being we don't have the map on how to do this, but everybody is in this together."

While this may be new, for now, Jweid said that as the months pass, parents should start feeling acclimated to this virtual school year. She recommends parents recreate a school environment to help with that acclamation.

“So, that might be shopping for some special school clothes, doing that first-day-of-school picture with the kids,” Jweid said. “Maybe creating that designated space for where schoolwork happens."

She also stressed communication between parents and teachers for solutions.

"This is a really important time for parents to connect with each other and for teachers to connect with other teachers,” Jweid explained, “and talk about some of the struggles."

As for Cameron, she said she is certain she will overcome these stresses, saying, “It's unknown right now, but it eventually it will transition into the 'known.'"

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