I have observed and heard a variety of responses - some positive, some negative. I invite you to consider these positive outcomes because if we can expand our thinking from our negative and anxious thoughts to consider other ways of thinking and focusing through this COVID-19 pandemic, it might help to reduce anxiety and stress too:
- Many people will have a growth mindset, and they will seek to learn, think about new ways to help, learn, teach, be connected, and be a family. These people have a different attitude than those who are focused on only the negative, who “awfulize” every single thing, and who are “fixed” in their closed mind. The “self-talk” that you will do throughout this process will be determined by your mindset and your attitude. Self-talk such as:
- “We will figure this out.”
- “Our family can handle whatever we need to do.”
- “We can learn how to do things differently.”
- “We will not only survive, but our family will thrive in the midst of this.”
- “We know this is temporary, and good times are coming again.”
- “We will probably never get to experience an event like this together again.”
We will enable you to look upward and can help reduce your stress throughout this time. Having and developing a growth mindset and positive attitude is a positive outcome of this COVID-19 outbreak.
- We can all live out our VCS philosophy to treat one another with dignity and respect. That means we will recognize that our family, friends and co-workers are under stress. We will give more grace, more hugs, and maybe more space! We will not judge or blame other people, countries, or cultures. We will speak to one another with dignity and respect, instead of arguing and spreading rumors; we will take the time to gather facts. We will listen to our Governor and follow his guidelines to keep all Kentuckians safe. We will keep social distancing. Treating others the way we want to be treated is a positive outcome.
- We are all growing in our knowledge and use of technology. It is not that we all need more screen time, but this remote learning/teaching/working has all of us learning new things. Today, I had multiple Google Meet meetings and Zoom meetings; some I created and invited others, and others I was invited to attend. All were new ways of meeting for me! You have learned new websites, watched your children use technology, created videos, and perhaps, you have seen your children navigate reading a book online. We have all gotten more comfortable watching our teachers on videos and responding to them. I have heard our teachers singing, “Happy Birthday”; giving phonological awareness lessons; showing pictures and videos of dogs, trees, and leprechauns; reading aloud; testing avacado, exocarp boats, and sharing themselves with their students. We have tried new things, grown, and worked through frustrations. Getting more knowledgeable, better and more comfortable using technology is a positive outcome of remote learning during this COVID-19 pandemic.
- We are caring for others - especially, our older population and family members. When we are intentional to keep our family members away from grandparents and great grandparents, we show them we care about them. When we follow the Governor’s instructions, heed his warnings, and be Kentuckians that care about other Kentuckians, we are caring for one another. When we are not hoarders at the grocery store and leave food and items for others, we are caring for others. When we go to the store, bank or pharmacist for a neighbor, we are helping them. All of our efforts at hand washing, social distancing, coughing into a tissue, and staying home are ways we are caring for others, especially those at high risk. Being more intentional to care for others is a positive outcome.
- All of us are practicing better hygiene and have cleaner kitchens, surfaces, and homes. You have been washing your hands for 20 seconds (maybe for the first time in your life) and making sure your children do too. You do this several times a day too. While you have heard this many times before, now you are actually doing it. Your countertops and doorknobs are cleaner, and you wash your hands when you arrive home from Kroger. You are sneezing into your elbow or a tissue, and you wash your hands every time you wipe your child’s nose. Without being a germaphobe, you are teaching better hygiene to your children. Having better hygiene and cleaning habits are positive outcomes of this COVID-19 outbreak.
- We are spending more time with our family, being together, and helping them. There is probably a different pace at your home. No one is rushing out the door screaming, “Get in the car!”. There is an easier pace without packed after school schedules and activities and rushing from one place to another. You are rethinking and restructuring your lives with your family. You are learning together; hiking together; having more time together and spending that time doing meaningful things together. You are establishing new routines, working side-by-side and taking breaks together. You are supporting your child’s learning in new ways and making their learning and their health your priority. Spending more time with your family and slowing down are positive outcomes.
- We are experiencing new learning, museums, zoos, online books and seeing many new places. I have listened to my granddaughter tell me about her favorite books she discovered on Epic and read Scaredy Squirrel to me; listened to Kristin Bell read Quackenstein Hatches a Family on Storyline Online; learned more about the Coronavirus through the Brainpop, Jr. app; and watched jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. I am thinking you too have utilized some of the numerous resources that are being shared with you so your child’s remote learning/teaching time can take you to new places and give you new experiences. Experiencing new places, books, zoos, and museums is a positive outcome of the Coronavirus health crisis.
You could probably add to this list based on the positive outcomes that you have experienced or seen. I hope in the midst of your own anxiety, fears of what is to come, and your work schedule and demands, you can reflect on your own experiences and see the caring people in your life. I know we all appreciate our doctors, nurses. and other medical persons who are on the front lines taking care of people every day.
You are people who really do want to make this time meaningful and the learning successful for your child; you want to help; and you want to do all you can for your family, neighbors, older people, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. You are one of the caring people that Mr. Roger’s mom taught him about.
I am positively for you,
Debbie Houston, Head of School