BU’s CARD Offers Webinar for Parenting during These Anxious Times
Also in our Coronavirus Tuesday Roundup: Mayor Walsh updates city testing plans
If you have a question or comment related to BU and its response to the COVID-19 crisis, on the subject of the move-out, remote learning, retrieving personal belongings, or anything else, please visit Boston University’s special COVID-19 website. Questions are being answered there by specific departments in a timely fashion. Thank you.
—Doug Most, executive editor, BU Today
Quote of the day:
Today is Patriots’ Day, a day where we usually come together and celebrate the heart, resilience, and toughness of our city. But on this Patriots’ Day, we need to stand together by standing apart.
Stat of the day:
Help for parents managing children’s anxiety in the pandemic
Parenting is a hard job, parenting an anxious child is even harder, and parenting during a pandemic can feel like a Herculean task. So BU’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CARD) is offering help. “It only made sense to develop an easily accessible resource for caregivers, with the goal of providing parents with some tangible tools to better support their children’s emotional health,” says Rachel Merson, clinical director of the center’s child program.
CARD has put together a three-session webinar, Parenting During COVID-19: A Guide to Managing (Child) Anxiety, to provide parents and other caregivers with tools to help support children’s emotional health and well-being during this period of coronavirus-related social distancing and beyond. The webinar focuses on strategies for reducing child (and parent) anxiety, says Merson, who is also a College of Arts & Sciences research assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences.
Part 1 focuses on understanding emotions and engaging in values-based positive behaviors. Part 2 focuses on responding to worry and developing more helpful, balanced thoughts. Part 3 offers general tips for caregivers that are helpful for responding to child anxiety and distress in the moment. Audio files and a PDF of the presentation are also available.
“As a parent myself, I’ve read a lot of articles lately with titles like ‘Parents Are Not Okay,’” says Merson, who has two sons, ages 5 years and 15 months. “These reflect the incredible burden that parents are facing as they are trying to balance working from home, manage changing financial situations, homeschool their children, figure out how to get groceries (and toilet paper), and keep their families happy and healthy.
“We hope that in providing resources for parents to talk more effectively about coronavirus-related anxiety and other strong negative emotions with their children,” she says, “we’ll also give parents some tools that they themselves can use to alleviate some of their own stress.”
The webinar is free and available to anyone. For those with more serious concerns, CARD is accepting new patients in both child and adult programs. Staffers are conducting services via telehealth, using HIPAA-compliant web-conference software. Interested parents can fill out the Child Program’s online intake form; adults looking for therapy services for themselves can contact the center at 617-353-9610.
CARD is also trying to talk directly to older children with Coping During COVID: A Skills Workshop for Teens, another three-session Zoom workshop being offered several times in the next few weeks. The idea is to help teens cope with uncomfortable emotions that may arise during the pandemic. Session 1: All about emotions, their function, and how to be mindful of the present moment. Session 2: Dealing with worry, how to differentiate between realistic and hypothetical worries, skills for when worries are taking over. Session 3: Self-care and living in line with your values when you’re stuck at home, and how to engage in fulfilling activities. For more information about the workshops and to register, families should contact Marcella Mazzenga at email@example.com or 857-302-0830.
Boston and Beyond News
Mayor Martin Walsh updates city efforts
On Monday, Boston’s mayor highlighted various city efforts to ramp up testing and food access during the pandemic—and to keep people updated. The city is now providing data on testing by neighborhood and zip code levels, available here, and a map of testing locations here. For those with food insecurity during the crisis, there is now an online map of food pantries and meal service locations here. City of Boston COVID-19 text updates are now available in 11 different languages. Those who have not yet signed up are encouraged to do so by texting BOSCOVID to 888-777.
Walsh also noted the success of city efforts to ramp up care for the homeless caught in the pandemic. He recapped all the beds that have been secured to date, including 75 beds on Boston University’s Fenway Campus for Pine Street Inn staff. “Because of all this work that’s been collectively put together, and the support of these partnerships, we have the capacity to shelter and treat every single homeless individual safely, and be able to keep people out of the hospital system,” he said. “We are going to continue making sure this is the case, and I want to thank everyone in that ongoing effort today.”
He also expressed annoyance with residents ignoring social distancing to do things like play golf on Sunday at city-owned courses—even though those courses are closed. “In one case, @BostonPolice officers had to come and tell them to leave,” the mayor said. “That shouldn’t have to happen. You shouldn’t need to be told. We won’t hesitate to send police officers to deliver the message and—if necessary—deliver citations.”
No-Marathon Monday? Just wait
WBUR reports that the Boston Athletic Association is well into planning for the 2020 Boston Marathon, now rescheduled to September 14; the Marathon would have been run on Patriots Day, April 20, were it not for the novel coronavirus. But pretty much everything is far from certain. “As Dr. [Anthony] Fauci [US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director] says, the disease will begin to dictate what actually happens,” said BAA CEO Tom Grilk. “It may be that some plans will change. We’ll be governed by that. And we’ll be very heavily governed by what public authorities tell us.”
More children falling victim to COVID-19
If the pandemic isn’t worrying enough for parents and children alike, the Boston Globe reports that a small but increasing number of children are falling severely ill with the virus. Previously, the youngest among us had been seen as relatively unaffected by the pandemic, which has hit the elderly and immunocompromised especially hard.
Hey, gig workers and other 1099 people!
The federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a COVID-19–related reason, but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. PUA provides payment to self-employed independent contractors, workers with limited work history, and others who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency. Everything you need to know about applying is here.
US & Global News
Testing dispute holds up funding deal
A dispute over President Trump’s handling of coronavirus testing has emerged as a sticking point in negotiations between Congress and the administration to provide $450 billion to renew a small business loan program and provide more funding for hospitals, the New York Times reports. Democrats want establishment of a national testing strategy as a requirement in any new bill, to override Trump’s effort to hand responsibility to governors of individual states. A Senate session has been scheduled for 4 pm Tuesday, suggesting legislators expect to work out their differences.
Latest count of coronavirus cases
United States, 749,666; Massachusetts, 39,643.
Find BU Today’s latest coverage of the pandemic here. The University’s hotline for faculty, staff, students, and visiting scholars to call for referral of their virus-related medical concerns is 617-358-4990.