coronavirus pandemic

School Counselors Busier Thanks to Pandemic Pressure

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Counselors and nurses say they're busier than ever before as schools work to get students back on track more than a year after the pandemic started.

"I think we're really seeing the effects this year," said Michelle Atkins, a counselor at Walnut Hill Elementary in the Dallas Independent School District.

"They've been out of school for 18 months, some students have been virtual for 18 months, so this is like a new beginning, a new format, coming to school with a mask on, still doing a lot of virtual work even though they're in person and I think it's just overwhelming," said Atkins.

Students especially in middle and high school tell us they are stressed out, some are worried about the academics losses of the pandemic and if they'll be ready for college.

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Others have lived at home socially distanced and are now in crowded hallways filled with kids who on some campuses don't have to mask up. 

"It's always going to be like, a sort of fear because you know there's so many kids compared to like last year and now there's like a thing going around with a second COVID or another COVID," said Falicity Martinez, student, Texans Can Academy.

The stress of school is a big deal, it's been around long before COVID-19 but the pandemic took kids who were coping and pushed them to their breaking point.

Beth Lusby is a psychologist, she's seen so many young patients battling school stress during the pandemic she wrote a book to try to help others cope.

"It's almost like during that period of time that people were away we've developed a different... comfort level with people bring around us," said Lusby.

Lusby says parents have to talk to their kids, even if they seem fine and encourage them to talk to someone in the school building about their worries whether it's changing classes or academics.   

Michelle Atkins says while many people didn't anticipate this issue, the help for it is there.

"As counselors, we're just naturally attuned to that part of the students we started to see that this year is going to be the more challenging year as everyone comes back," said Atkins.

Even though it's meant she's super busy, she's encouraged students are taking steps to clear their minds, so they're primed to learn.

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