Thomas G. Suk Q&A

What are you noticing at this time about your counseling work with clients in consideration of how the pandemic has changed our world?

What I am noting most of late is the impact on children. Just today a friend’s second grader was diagnosed with Covid. That’s a pretty tender age to be hit with a virus that has killed many. Though there is not an approved vaccination for children this age, there is a fairly good track record of their immune systems being able to handle the virus and get through. My 7-year-old, second grade grandson just completed a two-week quarantine after discovering he was in contact with a child who tested positive. So back to online learning for him, which is really tough for a child that age. And all the rest of the kids, they’re in masks, as they should be, but that changes the social experience of school, which is such a big part of all educational settings. Classroom desks are spread wide, some grades have designated lunch partners, you eat with the same group of kids each day, stay contained, which further constrains social connection. But at least they are in school this year, albeit somewhat differently and oddly configured.

Most parents are rightly worried about how this experience will affect their kids. And educators tremble at the amount of teaching time that has been drained away from the classroom in order to manage safe procedures in class. The grim statistic is that so far 1 out of every 500 people in the US has died of Covid. Most everyone knows someone who has died from the virus or been infected. But the impact of this pandemic will have a far reach into the future as the current generation of students pass through post pandemic years.

The impact of the pandemic on children is an issue not just for the parents. There are questions about the effectiveness of online learning. Which grades, or which populations groups might most negatively be affected. How will this affect education and the shape of the culture ten and twenty years from now. What can counselors do today to directly help children, and families, and those that know and love the children all of whom have been touched one way or the other by Covid. This is what I have noticed most when considering the pandemic. How can we help the children, all of whom, in one way or the other, have been affected? How can we identify the worry and anxiety the children are dealing with and address those needs effectively?

-Thomas G. Suk, PhD, LMFT, LCPC

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