The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced all Stark County children in grades K-12 to move to online learning. Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health’s (C&A’s) Trauma Informed Day Treatment students and teachers have had to adapt as well.
The students attending C&A’s Day Treatment program, kindergarten through 12th grade, deal with emotional and behavioral challenges that most students do not face. The students attending school at C&A have experienced trauma that does not allow the child to participate in the classroom in their home school district. For these students, routine is an important aspect of their treatment and during this time, C&A teachers and therapist are working hard to keep the kids engaged through online learning as well as meet their mental and behavioral health needs through teletherapy or in person.
C&A transitions to online learning:
“Our teachers and students are adjusting impressively well,” said Dan Metzgar, Day Treatment program manager. “The teachers are working hard to continue to educate the students even though the students are not in the school building.”
Metzgar said students and teachers are meeting through Zoom. He also said if students prefer, they are able to receive one-on-one instruction while practicing personal distancing when the students come in to meet with their therapist. At that point, students are receiving work from home bags.
For traditional students, maintaining attention span may be difficult when reading material on a school-issued electronic device or staring at a screen. For students who have trauma issues, the challenges sometimes increase.
“Overall, things have been going well,” said Metzgar. “The kids have been adjusting well to the circumstances. A few of the students have struggled not having the structure and routine they were use to but they are starting to make the adjustments that are necessary in this situation.”
Every student learns differently even under usual circumstances:
The students who attend our Day Treatment program also receive individual and group therapy as part of the school experience. The groups are still meeting via Zoom.
Part of their daily structure in the program is participating in therapeutic groups. “We have set up therapeutic groups through Zoom,” said Metzgar. “It is still a work in progress as we try to get more clients to participate consistently but the ones that have participated have seemed to enjoy the experience and being able to see their classmates.”
While technology is great and is helping all students move forward with the school year, nothing replaces in-person teaching.
“We have had a few parents that preferred the in-person learning,” said Metzgar. “The teachers are following the social distancing guidelines during these meetings. They are either sitting at the end of the table or working on the board while the student is sitting at a desk or table. Some parents have waited and other parents have dropped off their child and picked them up at scheduled times. We have left it up to the family and what works best for them. We are doing everything we can to work around the preference of the family to keep the students working with their teachers and therapists.”
In addition, teachers have gone out of their way to keep student’s on track, including dropping and picking up material at their houses.
“Yes, the teachers have been dropping off and picking up work from the student’s homes (front porch),” said Metzgar. “So far, it has been going well. A lot of our students have been working hard. Anything we can do to continue to provide education for our students and continue the progress they have made will do.”
Metzgar said the positive in this situation is seeing all of the Day Treatment staff work together and find ways to continue to support the clients in this challenging situation.
Making the best of this situation
In many of Stark County’s school districts including the student’s home district, the school will provide one-to-one technology for kids in grades three through 12. Unfortunately, C&A cannot do this.
“Unfortunately, we do not have the resources available to provide the students with devices,” said Metzgar. “The students are using technology in the form of phones and computers they have at home.”
“Overall, I have been impressed with the progress we are making. The students and staff are working hard and I am so proud of them. I believe we will continue to make progress academically and therapeutically as everyone continues to adjust in this challenging situation.”
When the stay-at-home orders are released, and students return to the classroom, Metzgar feels students will not lose much academically because the staff has worked hard to maintain a feeling of connection and structure during this time.
“I believe as long as the students continue to work with their teacher and therapist, they will maintain their progress,” said Metzgar. “Our staff is working incredibly hard to ensure that nobody falls behind.”
C&A is open and seeing new and current clients. If you are in need of our services, please call 330-433-6075.