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Concern Grows For Mental Health Of Colorado Children During Remote Learning

DENVER (CBS4) - A coalition of families, teachers and administrators from across the state met on the Colorado State Capitol steps Monday to rally for in-person learning. The gathering comes as schools are switching to remote learning due to the COIVD-19 crisis.

Colorado Districts Educational Alliance: Choice for In-Person Learning is made up of community representatives from Denver, Jefferson County, Cherry Creek, Littleton, Aurora, Adams 12, Boulder Valley, St. Vrain Public Schools, and several Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and rural school districts. They are combining forces to fight for changes in the school system during the pandemic.

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Cindy Myers is a nurse and DPS parent. She says remote learning isn't the best fit for her daughter and other kids across the state.

"They just can't focus. They are stressed out, and they are having meltdowns," Myers told CBS4's Andrea Flores.

Laura Anthony, a child psychologist at Children's Hospital Colorado, says it might be time to start watching out for signs of distress in students.

"We should expect kids to feel more stress, more sadness, grief about the things they're missing, and feeling lonely. We're all feeling that these days," Anthony said. "It's when it crosses over so that they can't have fun anymore. You can't get them talking with you. You can't find out what they're feeling, and what's going on. You might want to think about asking for some help."

Anthony says parents and teachers should be checking in on students more often, with positive questions.

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"Things are changing again, and again, and again, and that's really hard for kids to adjust to," she said. "Check in more often, but also give them space. Don't use a lot of punishment, particularly around grades, or getting things done for school. This needs to be a time for real flexibility in your discipline."

She says parents should also be aware of their own well-being.

"We're asking a lot of parents who may be struggling to balance being a full-time parent, and a full-time teacher, and sometimes a full-time employee, and we're supposed to be able to fit all that in in the daytime," she said. "That's impossible."

While parents continue to push for an in-person education, some fear learning from home might be doing more harm than good.

"It's really creating a whole other health crisis," Myers said.

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