Dr. Jennifer Greif Green, associate professor in BU Wheelock’s special education program, has partnered with Medway Public Schools to develop an online COVID-19 stress and anxiety educational course for students.
The course, launched Monday, May 11, is designed to help students in grades 5-12 understand the difference between stress and anxiety; learn about different ways of managing their stress; and determine who they can reach out to if they feel they need support.
Now implemented in Medway Public Schools, the course is available to schools and students across the country at no cost. Individuals can access the course module online via Dr. Green’s website, and schools and district interested in providing the course to their students may contact Dr. Green at email@example.com.
“Medway Public Schools reached out to us because of their commitment to supporting the health and well being of students,” says Dr. Green. “We are thankful for the opportunity to partner in developing this module and hope that it will be helpful to students in Medway, as well as other school districts.”
Additional members of the BU Wheelock community made key contributions to the work: doctoral student Rachael Donalds and undergraduate Katie Carey. Professor Melissa Holt and members of the Social Adjustment and Bullying Prevention lab provided additional feedback, as did Professor Donna Pincus at the BU Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. The team drew on a number of sources when creating their lessons, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Psychologists.
The result is an online course module that addresses key questions and concerns that teens may have about stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. The course begins with an explanation of stress as a normal reaction to many situations in people’s lives. It explains reasons that teens may be feeling stress in relation to COVID-19, such as being stuck inside or missing time with friends.
The course goes on to explain strategies for coping with stress and how strategies can be healthy or unhealthy. Along with several ideas and tips of healthy strategies, the course discusses the importance of creating a routine by eating healthy, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.
The course concludes with signs to help the student determine whether they or a friend may need additional help or support in coping with stress. Students are encouraged to reach out to teachers, school counselors, assistant principals or principals at any time if they need support or resources. Resources and contact information are provided for students and parents.
Commenting on the collaboration, Medway Schools’ Director of Wellness Dr. Ryan Sherman note that “We hope this course helps our students learn techniques to not only help them deal with the stress they may be experiencing during these uncertain times, but techniques that they can continue to use in the future.”
District Superintendent Armand Pires expressed thanks to Dr. Green and her collaborators for their work on the project: “We were pleased to collaborate with Dr. Green and the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development and we thank them for their work on this course. We are excited that a course started here in Medway will go on to benefit students across Massachusetts and the country.”
The text in this article draws on reporting created and published by Medway Public Schools in partnership with John Guilfoil Public Relations LLC.