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Schools: The New Normal | Parents Feeling Stressed And Worried About This School Year Are Definitely Not Alone

MADISON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Most schools in the Tri-State Area are currently in session.

Others, like New York City, continue to modify reopening plans.

For parents, the unknowns, the last-minute changes lead to feelings of absolute anxiety.

While the stress and worry can be overwhelming, you can take some comfort knowing you are definitely not alone, reported CBS2's Kristine Johnson.

"I think the unknowns of school: We're remote, then in person, then we're hybrid," Debra Coen said.


In COVID, the only constant is change. Coen, like so many others, is stressed out and full of questions. Will her three children follow the safety rules? Will the friends that surround them follow them too? Will teachers and administrators ensure the learning environment is safe? Trust, and the desire to provide for her children, is on the line.

"I think it's that balance of we need to be safe but we need our kids to be educated, and we need to make sure they're getting everything they need to be successful," she said.

So for her, that means sending two sons back to public school in Madison, New Jersey and a third to college in Rhode Island.

"A lot of it is knowing we've done what we can do," she said. "And that we just have to trust that the kids have gotten it."

"There is no such thing as a right or wrong answer in this," said clinical psychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez.

Dr. Hafeez says in this pandemic, whatever is right for your family is the right decision. Anxiety is driven by the unknown - to manage it, she recommends contacting your child's school to address your specific concerns, and share that information in an age-appropriate manner with your children.


"I'm very impressed with how resilient and how intelligent children really are," Dr. Hafeez said. "We don't give them enough credit."

As for preparing yourself for word of a positive COVID case?

"You are going to freak out," Dr. Hafeez said.

"So are you saying, this is reality. Don't kid ourselves. There is a possibility that we can get that call," Johnson asked.

"Yes, it's a very real possibility, but again it does not mean that you and your child are now infected. It means that if the school is keeping up with protocol or the standard procedures, you're probably OK. But this is the reason everyone just needs to be very cautious," Dr. Hafeez said.


While worry about the risk sometimes keeps Coen up at night, she also recognizes the rewards of back to school.

"I think in some ways, as anxiety-driven as it is, school is the best thing," Coen said. "It's got kids back on a schedule, it's getting adults back on a schedule. "

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