Sandy Hook Promise’s mission is grounded in choosing to value prevention over fear. That’s why, given the ever-changing scope of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have been taking precautionary measures to help protect the health and safety of our staff, partners, and the school communities we serve. We also recognize that social distancing can lead to isolation and fear – especially in students who are already vulnerable or troubled.
Schools are closing and students around the country are being told to stay home, stop hanging out in large groups, and adhere to town or city curfew laws. There is uncertainty about when schools will re-open and normal activities resume. These uncertain times can bring about feelings of anxiety, loneliness, frustration, depression, and annoyance.
Our experts offer the following tips to help parents and educators help keep children safe and connected throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
- Start With Hello teaches three steps that can be useful during these times: See Someone Alone, Reach Out and Help, and Start With Hello! For schools that remain open, our online and self-led Start With Hello and Say Something trainings are always available and can be implemented on-demand in a single class period.
- SAVE Promise Clubs have created youth activities that can be adapted for remote or virtual engagement. Learn more about how you can join the club.
- Say Something helps students recognize signs of bullying and potential threats. Students who become ill or are from areas heavily impacted by the virus may be “scapegoated” or targeted for bullying due to their health or ethnicity. To help counter bias, schedule a virtual meet-up or phone call and do a “circle up” found on page 14 of this activity guide.
- Webinars: Our free online webinar series gives parents, educators and others with children in their lives concrete tools and resources to help protect and support young people during these challenging times.
- You can also download our full Youth and Educator Activity Guide for Times of Social Distancing
- Our partner NAMI offers NAMI Basics, is a 6-session education program for parents, caregivers and other family who provide care for youth (ages 22 and younger) who are experiencing mental health symptoms. Learn more
Sandy Hook Promise will continue to look for ways to help students to connect and create a sense of belonging and community through the Coronavirus epidemic and beyond. Contact us online or follow us on Twitter @sandyhook or Instagram and Facebook @sandyhookpromise to share your ideas or find others!