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Navigating anxiety as students transition to online learning

distance learning

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION) The transition to distance learning during the pandemic has been challenging for both students and parents. Some Central Coast schools are trying to help parents and teachers navigate the anxieties students may face during distance learning.

Online learning can cause some students to have feelings of embarrassment, shame and fear, especially now that students will be engaging with their teachers and peers in live video instruction. Some kids may not feel comfortable showing their face or their living situation, especially students in low-income and homeless families or children with a history of trauma.

“We don’t want a concern about showing their face or showing the background of where they live or some students don’t have a dedicated learning space,” Pajaro Valley Unified School District Director of Technology Services Dan Weiser said. “We don’t want that concern to keep students from connecting to their classes and their lessons and their education.”

For this reason, the PVUSD doesn’t require students to show their faces during live video instruction.

The district is also aiming to prevent cyberbullying and teach respectful 
online behavior through a series of Digital Citizenship classes at the start of the year.

As an extra layer of protection,  PVUSD works with a company to scan 
students accounts.

“It looks for any kind of very serious and concerning content so that could 
be something related to suicide. It could be some harassment or 
cyberbullying language. It could be something related to drugs,” Weiser said.

A person will review the case and alert the administration of concerning 
behavior. As the pandemic continues, experts recommend having conversations early and often with your children about their emotional health. 

Closer to the bay, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District also offers Digital Citizenship resources online that parents can share with their students.

The videos and games, for various grade levels, are geared toward navigating the online world with topics like keeping information private, dealing with hate speech and having a healthy experience with social media platforms.

MPUSD is also hosting a series of social and emotional workshops for parents this week on how parents can support their students during this difficult time.

MPUSD is recommending teachers communicate with students or family 
to understand situations that might add to students anxiety levels and make a plan.

They suggest allowing students to use the mute and stop video functions on their computers so they can block their faces, but remain on the call, to make them feel more comfortable with distance learning.

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Elisha Machado

Elisha Machado is a weekend anchor and multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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