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How to Cope with Fears During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Dear GA Families,                                                                                                     

In the aftermath of recent communications about temporarily closing school, you may have questions about interactions with fellow students and how to help your children cope with worries and fears about health and safety.

GA is taking our lead from guidance provided by Montgomery County officials who have advised that the best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure to the virus. It is their advice that “community-based interventions such as school dismissals, event cancellations, social distancing, and creating employee plans to work remotely can help slow the spread of COVID-19.” We will continue to update you as new information specific to GA is shared with us. In the meantime, we encourage you to visit the Montgomery County website for the latest local developments and advice.

The following is some information from the GA counseling staff that may be useful:

  • Children will look to you to know how to react and to see if they should be worried. Try to stay calm.
  • If they are anxious, validate their feelings ("I know you are worried") and then add reassurance ("and here's why you are safe.....)
  •  If young children sense that you are concerned, you can acknowledge that you have some worries but that all is well at home.
  • If young children are unaware of the current coronavirus, there is no need to give them details.
  • Answer questions about the epidemic with facts but without drama. Let children's questions be your guide to developmentally appropriate responses.
  • Older children may want to talk about the epidemic or watch news reports. Limit TV/internet news for Middle School students. Discourage Lower School students from watching the news. 
  • Encourage the continuation of daily routines.
  • Some children may revert to outgrown behaviors in response to being upset (such as: separation anxiety, clinginess, reluctance to leave parents and comfort zones, sleep troubles). 
  • Remember that temporary worry and fear are all normal reactions.
  • For more detailed information, please refer to the following resources from the National Association of School Psychologists and the American Psychological Association:    comic- exploring-the-new-coronavirus

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact one of the GA counselors:

Ms. Chrissie Baumann
267-405-7569 MS (US)

Mr. Matt Elliser
267-405-7279 (US)

Dr. Andrea Kurtz
267-405-7373 (MS)

Dr. Janet Maurer
267-405-7303 (US)

Dr. Amy Rosenbaum
267-405-7209 (LS)

Stay well,

Janet Maurer, Ph.D.
Director of Counseling Services
Germantown Academy
340 Morris Road
Fort Washington, PA 19027
Phone & Fax: 267 405-7303