EWRSD Wellness Newsletter

Dear Families:


This Wellness Newsletter is the first of an ongoing series of newsletters designed to help you and your child prepare for a safe return to school. We hope you find this information helpful.

Returning to School

Schools will certainly look different as students return in the fall.


One of the most visible changes will be that everyone is wearing a face mask, and many students, particularly young children, will have difficulty adjusting to wearing them for an extended period of time.


Here are some suggestions to help your child build a tolerance to wearing a mask:


Practice!

The more students wear a mask, the more accustomed they will become to wearing one on a regular basis. Start by wearing the mask at home for brief periods of time, and slowly extend that time. Set an achievable time limit, and reward your child with a small reward for achieving the goal.


Provide Choice

Children may be more likely to wear a mask if they feel a sense of ownership. If you are purchasing a mask, consider having your child participate in the decision-making process. Also, help your child decorate the mask


Use a Social Story

For young children, watch this video with your child: Video: We Wear Masks – A Social Story about the coronavirus


For Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

If your child has a cochlear implant or hearing aids, you may want to choose a mask with straps in the back rather than an ear loop mask. Earloop masks can cause extra noise as it rubs against the ears that may be annoying to those who use hearing aids or cochlear implants. (https://www.childrensmn.org/2020/06/05/make-face-masks-comfortable-kids/)


Listen, and Acknowledge Their Concerns

Many people struggle with change, and this holds true for children. Many children have not yet developed coping strategies to deal with all of the changes that have occurred, and feelings of confusion, sadness, and fear are not uncommon. Allow your child to speak and share their concerns, and stick to the facts when reassuring them. Remind them that you and the school community have taken many steps to protect them from COVID and that they can play their part by wearing a mask and social distancing. If you are concerned about your child’s emotional reaction to the transition to school, please do not hesitate to contact their school counselor.

Healthy Classrooms

Asthma

If your child will require the use of asthma medication at school this year, please note that we will not be allowed to administer nebulizer treatments due to COVID restrictions. Metered-dose inhalers with spacers will be allowed.


Food in the Classroom

Social distancing will be practiced throughout the district and large gatherings will be avoided, which includes eating lunch in the cafeteria. Instead, snacks/food may be eaten in the classrooms. As we move toward eating in the classroom, please note the following:


  • Students will be seated six feet apart.

  • Refrain from sending in food to school that contains peanuts, tree nuts, or was processed in facilities that use these products.

  • If you send your child to school with a snack, please provide them with items they can open independently.


Also, water fountains will not be used this year. Please feel free to send your child to school with a water bottle (reusable is ok).
My Hero is You, Storybook for Children on COVID-19

The link above will take you to a storybook that explains COVID and how students can protect themselves against the virus. The illustrated book is suitable for young children and explains the importance of handwashing and social distancing.

Keeping Our School Community Healthy!

As we return to school, it is very important that you keep your children home if they are ill. You can help your school community by actively monitoring for the COVID symptoms below:


  • Fever or chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea


Please monitor your child’s temperature daily. Please do not give medication (Advil, Tylenol, Motrin, or any medication that may reduce or mask a fever) prior to coming to school. If you need a thermometer to monitor your child’s temperature, please call your child’s school to request one and include your child’s name and address. We will send you a thermometer. Supplies are limited to the first 500 requests.

Parent Resource

The Parent Support Network of Central New Jersey, developed by the Youth Mental Health Project and sponsored by NAMI Mercer, is a parent-driven family-focused program to support parents/caregivers who are concerned about their kids' struggles with anxiety, depression and/or emotional dysregulation. NAMI Mercer hosts regular monthly meetings of The Parent Support Network of Central New Jersey, providing parents who are concerned about their child's mental health and well-being with the opportunity to give and receive valuable peer connection and insight through in-person, confidential, informational meetings run by and for parents.

Health Resources

Hightstown Walk-Up Test Site Information

If you are symptomatic for COVID-19 and want to be tested, contact your primary health care practitioner. If a test is needed, your doctor must fax a prescription to the Mercer County health call center at 609-630-4031, and the center will contact you to schedule an appointment.


If you voice an inability to get to Quaker Bridge Mall drive-through site, you will be offered an appointment at the Hightstown pop-up site along with instructions on when and where to go.


If you do not have a doctor, call an urgent care facility and if uninsured call the Henry J. Austin Health Center in Trenton (609-278-5900) to arrange for screening. Many health providers are screening individuals by telemedicine and issuing prescriptions for testing when needed.


If you have questions about the testing process, call 609-337-4081 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Español, call 609-436-5038 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.


Henry J. Austin Health Center (HJA)

HJA reports that they have plenty of capacity to conduct testing. Anyone, regardless of insurance status, can call 609-278-5900 to be registered for testing. Test results are typically available within 3-4 days.


How can I get treatment for COVID-19 if I'm uninsured or undocumented? How do I cover the health costs associated with COVID-19?

For answers to these questions, please click here.

Mental Health Supports

During designated blocks each day, Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) counselors will be available for one-on-one support by phone. No paperwork, no questions, just direct support. The hours and contact information are below:


Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.


Tuesdays & Thursdays:

5:00 to 7:00 p.m.


Call 609-987-8100 and Dial 0


JFCS also operates a Youth Mindfulness Group every Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. There is no multi-week commitment needed and children can drop-in when they wish. The clinician will guide the young participants through age-appropriate mindfulness discussions and techniques. Parents can register here.

JFCS Mobile Food Pantry - Upcoming Stop in HIGHTSTOWN!

The distribution will be held at The First Baptist Church in Hightstown on Friday, August 28 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Pre-registration is required here.
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COVID-19 Resources

This article is from the American Academy of Pediatrics. It shares signs to look for in your teen if you believe your child is having a difficult time coping with the changes in their life due to COVID-19. The article gives parents tips and resources to support their children.


Mental Health During COVID-19: Signs Your Teen May Need More Support


This is another article is from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The article provides families with tips to help increase positive mood for the entire family.


Mood-Boosting Tips for Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic