• Great Neck Public Schools


    Social and Emotional Well-Being

    School Reopening 2020-2021


  • Following the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, members of our school community will likely experience varying degrees of anxiety and adjustment as we begin the 2020-21 school year. Beginning in September, the importance of mental health needs must be addressed globally in each school through dedicated time for reflection, sharing, the teaching and learning of coping skills/anxiety reduction strategies and connection with others. A positive, flexible and supportive approach is key to setting the tone upon return to school whether in person, remote or hybrid. From this initial work, we will be able to determine who might need more targeted intervention and proceed accordingly. Mental health struggles and the willingness to seek help need to be de-stigmatized and normalized. A critical component of this initiative is regular communication from district and building leadership about the importance of mental health, helpful resources available, and acceptance.





    1. Summer Mental Health Support Plan
      1. Communicate with families about the District’s focus on mental health for the new school year.
      2. Recognize that families and staff may have been impacted during the closure (mental health struggles, illness and grief, food insecurity, etc.) and may wish to seek help from mental health professionals or be provided with resources.
      3. Offer thematic parent Zoom meetings by student age levels and share via parent link/PTOs. Possible topics for consideration include: Routines for September, Coping Skills, Behavior Management, School Refusal.
      4. Provide transition planning for students starting new schools (Grades Pre-K, K, Lakeville 1, 6, 9) to ease anxiety and familiarize students with new buildings, staff, schedules, student expectations.
      5. Offer guidance to all families with support on issues related to anxiety, coping skills, transition to new school year.
      6. Update GNPS Crisis Resource Guide.

    2. School Year Mental Health Support Plan - Supporting Staff
      1. Superintendent’s Conference Day and/or Faculty Meetings
        1. Share resources to help teachers respond to students’ concerns and support conversations as they naturally unfold throughout the curriculum.
        2. Presentation/resources on how teachers can identify students who might be struggling more and may need to be referred to mental health staff.
        3. Present information on ways to manage personal stress.
      2. Continue regularly scheduled PPS mental health staff meetings via Zoom in addition to in-person meetings.
      3. Offer reminders from the Office of Human Resources about supports and referrals available.
      4. Provide ways to support staff on a regular basis by creating a safe time and a safe place to speak with colleagues, promote mindfulness activities, walk and talk activities, etc.

    3. School Year Mental Health Support Plan - Supporting Students
      1. Embed instruction for coping skills, stress management, mindfulness in general education curriculum.
      2. Dedicate time for students to talk about their feelings and experiences, especially at the start of the school year.
        1. Use of elementary morning meeting time.
        2. Middle and high school advisory periods (SMS Gr. 7-8, NMS, NHS Gr. 9-10).
      3. Use visuals aids in building addressing mental health.
        1. Signs reminding students that emotions and seeking support are okay; themes of inclusiveness (ex. We are all in this together, etc.).
        2. Identify professionals in the building who are available to help students.
      4. Screener for kids identified by teachers or in the small groups (PREPaRe resources).
      5. Create counseling groups for targeted issues including concerns about social injustice.

    4. School Year Mental Health Support Plan - Supporting Parents and Families
      1. Continue Parent Education and Training meetings via Zoom; expand topics to handling behaviors related to remote instruction, consider other areas of need in the fall.
      2. Regularly disseminate and raise awareness regarding the GNPS Crisis Resource Guide. Send link and reminders frequently in building and District communications.
      3. Inform families about resources in multiple languages by Parentlink emails, texts, mailings, postcards, including QR codes (and instructions for downloading a QR reader), flyers in community locations such as libraries, food stores, post office, houses of worship.
      4. Promote the District-wide evening SHAI/UPTC presentation to be held in September. The topic is: The Anxieties of Living Through a Pandemic: Uncertainty and Fear of the Unknown. It will be held in September and Dr. Oris and a mental health staff panel from District middle and high schools will address the impact on the mental health of students and their families. 
      5. Coordinate with community providers for therapy/teletherapy, bilingual providers list, food resources.