Schools must find a way to teach their students through video conferencing apps, make a budget work that could be cut in the coming weeks and put together a plan that would allow them to come back for in-person instruction by the fall. 

But that doesn't begin to scratch the surface of the mental health challenges facing students and staff that education officials are beginning to address. 


What You Need To Know

  • Schools are grappling with mental health issues for students.

  • Budget cuts are possible that could affect support staff.

  • Officials at schools say they are working to combat these problems now.


"Social isolation is a big problem," said New York State PTA Executive Director Belokopitsky. "Loss of peer contact, loss of normalcy and routine for children."

The pandemic has created stresses on students and teachers alike. Distancing learning remains a challenge, and the financial fallout from the crisis could leave families with money troubles. Teachers and school staff are trained to report signs of abuse at home, but that is less likely to happen as they are not in direct contact with students. 

Belokopitsky also worries mental health counseling could be cut as schools pare back their budgets. 

"We know budgets are going to be tight," she said. "But this is an area we cannot cut. We can't cut our schools and students. This is where our future is. This is where all our children need to be supported."

Ossining School Superintendent Ray Sanchez says the mental health concerns are focusing on a basic: Rebuilding a routine after so much disruption. 

"I think one of the big variables we're trying to deal with is there is consistency for our children, routines for our children as well as our adults and I mean that for our teaching staffs as well as families," Sanchez said. 

And it's an issues schools should be tackling now in preparation for an unpredictable start to the school year in September. 

"I'm confident that everyone is," Sancchez said. "We're all looking at it. There's a lot of data we collected from students and their family needs. I think it's better prepared us."

For now it is not yet clear if students and teachers will be able to return to their physical school buildings in the fall.