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Educator shows other challenges of pandemic

Besides the challenges parents are facing with becoming their child’s educator, teachers are seeing a new issue creeping up in their students - anxiety.

Kim Laird, an eighth-grade English teacher at Panther Valley, said that since the schools closed, she has had a handful of times already where students were experiencing fear and anxiety over the current pandemic.

“They are afraid their teachers will die or their parents or grandparents will die,” Laird said. “They are truly afraid.”

She has found that talking to the students and finding ways to help them calm their anxious mind is not as easy to do over a computer or tablet, and this has been a challenge, one that many teachers are facing across the area.

Many times, Laird is finding out that in addition to the students’ newfound anxieties, the problem is compounded because parents are still working or are not practicing social distancing as they should be.

“I have to reassure these kids, my kids, that everything will be OK if they just stay away from others as we’re being instructed to do,” she said.

Some cases are even going so far as pushing children to thoughts of harming themselves to stop the fear that they are experiencing, so Laird suggests to parents that talking to their children is crucial for everyone’s mental health.

“It hurts to know our kids need us and we can’t physically be there for them,” she said. “I am grateful we are in an age where we have technology to allow them to reach out and feel safer, but it still hurts to know that if it weren’t for this pandemic we could do so much more, especially for the ones at home alone.”