WNC school counselors get online to help students, parents deal with COVID-19 outbreak

WNC school counselors
Some school counselors in Buncombe County have set up Google classrooms in an effort to reach students or parents who might need help adjusting to all the changes brought on by the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

As all of us adapt with the changes that come with coronavirus, it can sometimes feel scary with all the uncertainty and unknown - especially for kids.

Right now, school counselors in Buncombe County are doing their best to make sure students are getting the support they need.

“This is what they’re going to remember the most is how they felt,” school counselor Alison Rhodes said.

On Wednesday, Rhodes gave News 13 a virtual tour of her new home office. It’s the place where she’s working now to check on her AC Reynolds Middle School students.

Right now, Rhodes said she's doesn't think it's really hit them just yet, but she predicts that will change.

“I anticipate after spring break it will ramp up a little bit,” Rhodes said.

So, to keep kids from feeling stressed, Rhodes and her colleagues have been adapting and trying different things they can do to connect.

“The other counselor and social worker and I worked together to set up Google classrooms for ourselves. One for each grade and then one for staff support for teachers,” she added. “Also, we’re doing a lot of email check-in's, as well, and encouraging students to log into our classroom.”

Rhodes said really the biggest challenge so far is just the confidentiality of it all.

“When we’re on a zoom call or we’re on the phone, I can’t be sure who else is in the room with a child, so I make sure that I am up front about that,” she said.

For kids feeling lonely, isolated or anxious, Rhodes suggested leaning on friends and family.

“As far as my own child, I’m not pushing her academics as much right now because I just want her to feel loved and to feel safe and supported, and I hope other parents out there can hear that message, that connection right now is so important,” Rhodes said.

The CDC also recommends ways to approach talking to your kids about all this. You can find that information here.