Psychologist gives advice for families dealing with choosing between face-to-face, virtual learning

ATLANTA — Anxiety is common when school starts up annually – but this year is very different, and psychologists say there are ways to deal with these extreme feelings.

Many parents in Georgia are having to choose between letting their students go back to school or having them learn at home using virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Channel 2 Action News spoke to a child psychologist who says making that decision is hard and both have challenges.

Parents like Emily Brewer are nervous about what this school year will look like.

“I’m just trying to make it exciting for my boys because they’re bummed, they want to be with their friends. They want to go back to school,” Brewer said.

Dr. Rosalyn Pitts Clark says it’s a tough decision for parents to decide to send their child back to school.

“Children are nervous, they watch the news, they see us, they know what’s going on in the community,” Clark said. “It’s based upon your individual child. How are they coping, what is their response to the pandemic? How safe do they feel?”

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On the other hand, Clark says online learning can also presents some challenges.

“Some children may have difficulty focusing on screen time for that much time, some children need their teacher to be present with them,” Clark said.

Online learning is something many students will have to adjust to since several districts in the metro are strictly virtual for the time being.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Coronavirus and Schools -- extensive coverage as the metro goes Back 2 School]

“Our kids feed off of our energy so although as a mom I’m stressed because I’m having to rearrange our schedule. If my kids see that, it’s going to make a hard situation harder for them. So the main way I’ve been preparing is just with my attitude,” Clark said.