Many students have been away from school for almost a year and that they might come back with different issues and difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Some children may have witnessed their parents experience stress and anxiety and because of this, children may have issues with their mental health and wellbeing.
Therefore, as a measure of smooth reopening of the schools and also as one of the psychosocial support activities, Career Education and Counselling Division, Department of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education in collaboration with UNICEF conducted an a virtual orientation session for school counselors on the Welcome Back Check in Session in schools for all grades. The School Guidance Counsellors were oriented on the process of the activities and accordingly school counselors will orient the class teachers who will actually conduct the activity in their respective classes. The activity is designed for around 60-90 minutes only.
This activity will provide basic support to children to help them process their feelings and experiences, before adjusting back into regular social contact with peers and routine classes or activities resulting to help prevent longer-term negative impacts on psychosocial development. Children who have experienced prolonged social isolation due to COVID-19, or have been out of school and haven’t engaged with friends because of social restrictions, may experience anxiety, stress, worry, sadness, and many more other feelings and emotions. Although they may feel excited to see their friends and teachers and return to a routine of going to school, they may also be anxious about reconnecting with their social and school life including keeping up academically.
School counsellors and teachers will know how children are feeling about returning to school and what they need to feel safe and supported as they enter back into regular social contact with peers and routine classes or activities and help them normalize their experiences. Through this activity they can observe and identify any children who need extra attention and support and accordingly provide interventions.
The orientation to the School Guidance Counsellors was conducted on January 31, 2021 with funding support from UNICEF.