Students face anxiety and stress over COVID-19, and fierce battles over school mask mandates fuel the turmoil, experts say

Some teachers are being offered retention bonuses during the pandemic. Javier Zayas Photography

  • Mask mandates at schools have been a political flashpoint across the US in recent months.

  • Meanwhile, students are exhibiting stress relating to the risks of catching COVID-19, experts say.

  • Students and mental health counselors are warning of the effects on young people's mental wellness.

Since the school year began, 16-year-old Brandon Perkins has been carrying hand sanitizer everywhere he goes.

He's fully vaccinated, he told Insider in an interview on Saturday, and, at his high school in Strongsville, Ohio, he and his friends wear masks – though plenty of others don't, he said.

The Strongsville City Schools district “strongly recommends” that students and staff wear masks while indoors, the superintendent said in a recent letter to parents. But they're not required.

Meanwhile, the state has no official mask mandate – something that Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said he would favor in comments last week, while warning that such a move would be swiftly shot down by the state's legislators.

At Strongsville High School, “the COVID situation actually has gotten a little bit out of hand,” Perkins told Insider. On Saturday, the school counted 16 students or staff members in active isolation, according to a public dashboard maintained by the district. Sixty-nine are in active quarantine. A spokesperson for the district did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.

“I'm trying to do all the protocols that we're supposed to, but if the school doesn't do anything at all, they don't change anything at all, it will just keep getting worse,” Perkins said. “Anxiety has gone way up.”

The situation comes amid an alarming surge in new coronavirus infections nationwide, driven by the Delta variant.

The US registered more than 150,000 new cases on Sept. 15, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the country has added more than 100,000 cases nearly every day since early August.

In the backdrop of this, Perkins lamented Ohio's “very polarized” atmosphere toward the subject of mask mandates, and that young people's voices have too often been left out of the conversation: “I don't think that young people have ever been asked at all what they think about the mask mandates.”

Mask mandates have been a major political flashpoint across the US

A deep schism about mask-wearing in the classroom has emerged across the United States in recent months.

Some parents and Republican political leaders have vigorously opposed forcing students to wear masks in the classroom. Meanwhile, supporters of mask mandates counter that it's the easiest way to slow the spread of the coronavirus in schools and among vulnerable or unvaccinated populations, such as older individuals or students under the age of 12.

Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Oklahoma are among states that have prohibited mask mandates at schools, while 25 states have no policy in place one way or another, according to a review of states' policies by US News & World Report.

States' patchwork public health policies have fanned the flames of stress and confusion for young people – many of whom are fearful of the virus' effects or wary of passing it on to family members – according to four adolescent mental health providers interviewed by Insider.

“When you have an environment where the leadership has not made it clear that masking is required, we tend to see more difficulty,” Shayla Sullivant, a psychiatrist who specializes in children and adolescent care at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, told Insider.

“Some young people who are trying to stick with wearing masks in an environment where that is not the norm have really struggled,” Sullivant added. “It's hard as a teenager, as a child, to be different from others – and it's also hard to take on that added risk of exposure.”

Some students fear bringing the virus home with them

Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker in Marathon, Florida, told Insider that she's observed “some kids who are very concerned” about falling ill with COVID-19.

“Some kids are more concerned about spreading it to family members – kids who live with a grandparent or have somebody who is going to be more susceptible to getting sick. Kids are really nervous about that,” Morin said.

A significant number of parents share kids' concerns.

Half of parents in the US said that they wanted their children to attend classes virtually this fall due to coronavirus-related fears, according to survey responses collected between late July and early August which were published earlier this month by the National Parent Teacher Association.

And more than four in ten (41%) high school teachers expressed concern that students' anxieties about returning to the classroom in-person could have a “tremendous impact” on their learning experiences, a survey from the Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children's Mental Health found.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 5 million kids have tested positive for COVID-19, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.

Cases among kids have exploded at the same moment that schools have reopened. The AAP said that more than 243,000 cases had been diagnosed among children in the first week of September alone.

'Underneath it, it's that they're anxious and trying to cope'

Sarah Flier, a school counselor in Wisconsin who works with students between ages 4 and 11, has witnessed the effects on her students.

About eight or nine parents have reached out to her so far this school year with concerns over their children's anxiety, she told Insider. Some of these students are as young as kindergarteners.

Describing their behavioral symptoms, she said: “It can be being easily frustrated. It can be running and hiding. It can be not wanting to come in the building, crying because they're missing mom, a lot of homesickness.”

“It's a lot of defiance and refusal too, which, to your average adult looks really disrespectful,” she added. “Underneath it, it's that they're anxious and trying to cope.”

'I just take it as a major insult'

Seventeen-year-old Matt Chowansky has upgraded his sanitation routine since the start of this school year.

When the 12th grader at Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees, New Jersey, returns home each afternoon, he takes a shower, hoping it will rinse the virus away.

He ducks into the bathroom in between classes to wash his hands, which can become dry with frequent washing. And before each period begins, he wipes down his desk in class with an antimicrobial wipe, all in the effort to minimize his chances of getting sick.

For students like Chowansky, the return of the school year means being on alert for COVID-19. And while New Jersey schools have a mask mandate in place, Chowansky said that students who brazenly disregard mask-wearing are his ultimate source of consternation.

“It's kind of insulting to people who genuinely are scared of coronavirus. I just take it as a major insult,” he said. “My message for people who are wearing masks is: Keep wearing masks. And if you don't wear a mask, you really need to – and you just really need to be a part of the community.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Conservative radio host Dennis Prager announces he tested positive for COVID-19, which he said he was intentionally trying to contract 'the entire time'

© Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk and Dennis Prager. Turning Point USA Conservative radio host Dennis Prager has tested positive for COVID-19. He claimed to be unvaccinated and on a ... Read more »

'I wanted to feel OK': Woman loses 85 pounds, cuts rheumatoid arthritis flares

In late 2016, Jenn Langerfeld felt stressed and sluggish. Her father had his leg amputated because of diabetes and then she became sick with pneumonia. But she was in so ... Read more »

Janet Yellen says the recent debt ceiling hike will only cover the government's bills through December 3

© Provided by Business Insider Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Drew Angerer/Getty Images Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Congress has until December 3 before the US defaults on its debt. Until ... Read more »

US stocks turn mixed as 10-year Treasury yield, oil prices give up most gains

© AP Photo/Richard Drew AP Photo/Richard Drew US stocks turn mixed, closing near session highs, as the 10-year Treasury yield gave up most gains. Oil traded mixed, with Brent crude ... Read more »

The #1 Best Almond Milk to Buy, Says Dietitian

© Provided by Eat This, Not That! almond milk When it comes to alternatives to cow’s milk, which one is your favorite? Oat, cashew, almond, pistachio, macadamia—the options are endless. ... Read more »

Rep. Madison Cawthorn's campaign paid a taxidermist $1,700 to create gifts to give to fundraiser hosts

© J. Scott Applewhite/AP Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina arrives at the Capitol for votes in the House of Representatives on March 11, 2021. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Rep. ... Read more »

ATE.TO: Pivoting to Acute Pain Relief for Otenaproxesul…

By David Bautz, PhD OTC:ATBPF | TSX:ATE.TO READ THE FULL ATE.TO RESEARCH REPORT Business Update Pivoting to Acute Pain Management for Otenaproxesul On October 14, 2021, Antibe Therapeutics, Inc. (OTC:ATBPF) ... Read more »

Florida school says vaxxed students must stay home for 30 days over unfounded fear they'll infect others

A Florida school is telling students who get vaccinated to stay away from school premises for a month because of an unfounded fear that they’ll infect others. © WSVN Centner ... Read more »

Georgia Dog Gets Second Chance After New Cancer Treatment Saves Her Life: 'It's a Shock'

A Georgia family is paw-sitively over the moon after their precious pup beat cancer! © Provided by People 11 alive When veterinarians found a tumor on 8-year-old pocket boxer Dixie’s ... Read more »

Myeloma may have made Colin Powell more vulnerable to dying of COVID

After former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s death from complications of COVID-19, experts pointed out that the 84-year-old Powell had a history of medical conditions that significantly raised his risk ... Read more »

Anti-vaxxer Dennis Prager got his wish: COVID

Dennis Prager has COVID-19. The eponym of right-wing indoctrination group, Prager University, announced his diagnosis on Monday. He’s the latest conservative anti-vaxxer to contract the virus. © Provided by Daily ... Read more »

BRIEF-Celcuity Announces Clinical Trial Collaboration With University Of Rochester Wilmot Cancer Center And Puma To Study Patients With Breast Cancer Brain Metastases

Oct 18 (Reuters) – Celcuity Inc: * CELCUITY ANNOUNCES CLINICAL TRIAL COLLABORATION WITH UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER WILMOT CANCER CENTER AND PUMA TO STUDY PATIENTS WITH BREAST CANCER BRAIN METASTASES * ... Read more »

COVID SCIENCE-Vaccines less protective for multiple myeloma patients; beware of fake stem cell treatment claims for COVID-19

By Nancy Lapid Oct 18 (Reuters) – The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and ... Read more »

Psaki says Biden not wearing mask at restaurant was just ‘moments in time that don't reflect overarching policy'

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday excused President Biden’s decision not wear a mask inside a DC restaurant as “moments in time that don’t reflect overarching policy.” Psaki ... Read more »

Vaccine latest: Gauteng's target becoming hard to reach, Makhura admits

© Provided by The South African Gauteng is not vaccinating enough people, something which Premier David Makhura has acknowledged doesn’t exactly spell good news for the province’s ambitious plans of ... Read more »

11 Best Dental Insurance of 2021

© Jose Velez / Money Best-2021-Dental-Insurance View Offer ADVERTISEMENT If you already have health insurance, having to purchase a stand-alone dental policy is undeniably frustrating. Still, it’s best to have ... Read more »

Vaccines are far better than not getting it at all. A doctor weighs in.

Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell died on Monday of Covid-19 complications. His family announced that he was fully vaccinated. He was 84 years old, and had multiple myeloma, ... Read more »

Selena Gomez Revealed the Social Media Boundary That 'Saved' Her Life

© Provided by Shape Getty Images Three years after deleting social media from her phone, Selena Gomez says she’s happier — and healthier — for it. In a recent interview ... Read more »

Casey DeSantis Makes First Appearance Since Breast Cancer Diagnosis: 'I'm Sure as Hell Not Giving Up'

Florida’s First Lady Casey DeSantis made her first public appearance since the announcement of her breast cancer diagnosis earlier this month. © Provided by People Executive Office of the Governor, ... Read more »

Japan's Rapid COVID Vaccine Campaign Partially Credited With Lowering Cases

Japan has seen a low in coronavirus cases recently which may be due to the success in its vaccination campaign after a summer wave that peaked at nearly 6,000 daily ... Read more »

DC Metro train derailed 3 times on the same day before passengers were forced to evacuate through a dark tunnel, investigators say

© AP Photo/Patrick Semansky A 7000 series train is seen here pulling into Metro Center station in Washington on April 23, 2021. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky A train on the Washington, ... Read more »

Carl Icahn sees a market 'crisis' brewing and notes bitcoin's potential if inflation spirals

© Adam Jeffery/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images Billionaire investor Carl Icahn. Adam Jeffery/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images Excessive money printing by the Fed and high inflation will spell ... Read more »

Amazon, Walmart, and hundreds more companies were warned by regulators that they could face steep fines if they use fake reviews or other deceptive endorsements

© Provided by Business Insider filadendron/Getty Images The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on misleading endorsements like fake online reviews. The agency warned more than 700 companies, including Amazon, ... Read more »

Here's What Happens Next on the Boosters

A family nurse practitioner administers a Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccine clinic in McMinnville, Ore., on Oct. 6, 2021. (Alisha Jucevic/The New York Times) An ... Read more »

A report says China tested a new hypersonic missile capability, but Beijing says it was testing spacecraft technology

© Zoya Rusinova\TASS via Getty Image DF-17 medium-range ballistic missiles equipped with a DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle in a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s ... Read more »

Miami private school requires students to stay home for 30 days after getting COVID vax

The Centner Academy cited debunked claims that newly vaccinated people can shed the virus as reason for the policy. Google Maps A Miami private school has mandated that students who ... Read more »

Age, underlying health condition were 'double blow' to Powell, experts say

Breakthrough Covid deaths are rare: Among the more than 187 million people who have been fully vaccinated across the U.S., there have been 7,178 deaths, according to the CDC. Read more »

What Common Household Items Contain 'Forever Chemicals' Biden Admin. Looks to Restrict?

© Getty EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced a plan to restrict so-called “forever chemicals.” In this photo, Regan speaks at the Queen theater on December 19, 2020 in Wilmington, DE. ... Read more »

'Big Short' investor Michael Burry says he is no longer short Tesla stock

© Jim Spellman; Pool / Getty Images Michael Burry and Elon Musk. Jim Spellman; Pool / Getty Images Michael Burry is no longer short Tesla stock via puts, he told ... Read more »

Colin Powell Has Died of Complications of COVID-19—But Is That Different Than Dying of the Disease Itself?

© Provided by Health Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images The family of Colin Powell announced on Monday that the former US Secretary of State has died from complications of ... Read more »

Apple unveiled a powerful new MacBook Pro that nixes the controversial TouchBar and reintroduced one of fans' most beloved features: MagSafe

© Provided by Business Insider Apple’s new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro. Apple Apple unveiled the new MacBook Pro at its October hardware event. The new, high-end laptop is configurable ... Read more »

New York shuts down 2 crypto firms for unlawful activities and investigates 3 others

© REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo New York State Attorney General Letitia James. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo New York ordered the shut down of two crypto lending platforms and directed the investigation of ... Read more »

Biden's Education Department reportedly has a 'safety net' for student-loan borrowers when the payment freeze lifts in February

© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images President Joe Biden. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images The Education Department is weighing a “safety net” for borrowers when student-loan payments resume, per Politico. It includes a 90-day ... Read more »

A judge is postponing Matt Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg's sentencing since he's helping with a federal investigation

© Provided by Business Insider Former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg talks to the Orlando Sentinel in September 2019, during an interview at his office in Lake Mary, Florida. ... Read more »

Anti-vaxxer takes microphone on plane to rant against Covid shots to fellow passengers

© jawny/TikTok A woman ranted about Covid mid-air with her own microphone headset – jawny/TikTok An alleged anti-vaxxer was filmed taking a microphone out of her luggage and ranting about ... Read more »

Saskatchewan sending 6 intensive care patients to Ontario as ICU challenges continue

© File / Getty Images Doctor holding oxygen ambu bag over patient given oxygen to patient by intubation tube in ICU/Emergency room Premier Scott Moe has announced the transfer of ... Read more »

I got my first COVID shot in Nigeria and the second in the UK, and the difference was infuriating

© Paul Adepoju The author, Paul Adepoju (left), got his first Covid vaccine shot in Nigeria. The center was so crowded that there was no room to sit down. Paul ... Read more »

I've been a bridesmaid over 125 times. Here are 10 common mistakes I see wedding parties make.

© Provided by INSIDER Being in a wedding party is an important job. Jen Glantz I’ve worked at more than 125 weddings as a professional bridesmaid over the last 6 ... Read more »

A YouTuber and fitness influencer said her husband shot her dog instead of taking him to the vet after a vehicle hit him

© Brittany Dawn Davis/Instagram Brittany Dawn faced some backlash after she said her husband shot her injured dog. Brittany Dawn Davis/Instagram Brittany Dawn uploaded a YouTube clip saying her husband ... Read more »

GOP-led Texas House approves new district maps that favor Republicans even more and strip away seats in Hispanic and Black areas

© Provided by INSIDER Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan gavels in the 87th Legislature’s special session at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas. Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images The GOP-led Texas House ... Read more »