Dear BFCCPS Parents & Guardians,
 
We recognize that remote learning can present significant challenges for our students; as such, we want to recirculate resources that have been curated for parents. While the school is physically closed at this time, the Counseling Services team will be available for support and checking email daily. We have expanded our team to add a full time school social worker and hired an additional school counselor to provide expanded access to support for the community.
 
BFCCPS Counseling Corner website has a variety of resources for parents on topics including unemployment resources, food pantries, domestic violence, substance abuse, suicide prevention, a crisis text line and more. A COVID-19 specific page is available with resources including grief and loss resources and how to talk to children about COVID-19. Additional resources are being curated to help in light of the recent attack on the US Capitol.
 
Students who have a COVID Learning Plan with the Student Services Office should reach out to their assigned student/family liaison, any of their SSO service providers, or Director of Student Services Mrs. Irwin.
 
For general education students and those with 504 Plans; if your student needs additional support in Kindergarten through Grade 3 please reach out to Allison Fay, in Grades 4 through 8 please reach out to Julie McCoy. Emily Minhane is also on board as an additional school counselor and available to support students.
 
It is recommended for families to reprioritize their physical and mental health. Please continue to practice good hygiene, including hand washing, sneezing into elbows or tissues, and social distancing. Families should also make sure that they are getting enough sleep, nutritious foods, and physical activity. We recommend the following to maintain one’s mental health during these unprecedented times:
 
Establish and follow consistent routines.  
 
  • For example, practice a school/weekend schedule. Weekdays can include a morning routine, school activities, physical activity, downtime, and a regular bedtime routine. Weekends can be saved for recreation.
  • Keep mealtimes, bedtimes, and routines the same. While some extra down time and video games is okay, remember the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no more than two hours of non-academic screen time per day.
  • If parents are working from home, we understand that your work/student balance will depend on your child(ren)’s age, need for support, and your work demands. We do not want academic activities to be stressful for parents or children.
 
Include family engagement activities (some may be suggested by your student’s teachers). Have kids help with a meal (e.g., prep the salad), make treats (e.g., grandma’s famous cake), play tag, or look at old family photos. 
 
Make sure that everyone takes movement breaks; jump rope, dance to music, follow a yoga video, play twister, or take a walk (assure social distancing).
 
While practicing Social Distancing, it is important to keep yourself and your children connected with others through other means. Video Chat with grandparents, cousins, or friends. Middle schoolers should continue to use their social media to connect. 
 
Be creative: set up apps that include partner play, schedule a virtual cooking class with friends (with each home having the same ingredients), or play Candyland with a friend (a game at each home).
 
Kids and parents may feel stressed or anxious during this time. These worries can look like irritability, tears, restlessness, withdrawal, clinginess, sleeplessness, etc. To help your child(ren) we recommend the following:
 
  • Find time to relax and practice soothing activities (e.g., yoga, listening to music, watching a favorite movie together).
  • Minimize the exposure to outside information. For example, turn off the news, limit social media, keep adult conversations out of earshot of children.
  • Provide extra love and physical contact (when everyone is healthy).  
  • Let your child(ren) express their worries. Be understanding and validate those feelings. Then let them know how you are there to keep them safe and how these measures are there to help.
  • Keep your own stress in check, as kids look to us on how to manage stressful situations. Seek support as needed.
 
In the coming weeks you will hear more from us about additional social opportunities for students including after school clubs and social lessons integrated into the school day.
 
If the academic demands of remote learning are causing stress, or you are having difficulty with the remote learning schedule your first outreach for support should be your child’s classroom teacher. We are both also available to help work through any challenges you may have.
 
Our partnership with families is an important component of the social and emotional health of our community especially at a time such as this. If your family needs additional support please reach out to your child’s homeroom teacher, a member of the Counseling Team or either of us for help.
 
Stay strong and kind BFCCPS. 
Mr Joe Perna 
Head of School
Dr Jeffrey Levering
Assistant Head of School