Transitioning from virtual, in-home learning to hybrid or full-time classroom learning

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This month, some Minnesota students will be going back to learning in the classroom instead of all virtual learning at home. KSTP’s Brandi Powell talked with a mental health expert about how to help kids with the transition.

Dr. Anne Gearity is with the University of Minnesota Department of Psychiatry and is a mental health practitioner.

"Some children are not looking forward to coming back. There are children who I know who say academically it’s hard, but for some children socially it was hard," Dr. Gearity said.

Dr. Gearity urges students not to shut down but to instead speak up about what learning styles are best for them.

"For most children, they’re out of practice … More than just summer, because they’ve been in this kind of dormant place where they’ve had to really shut things down," Dr. Gearity said.

Therefore, Gearity said, just like when astronauts return to earth, students will have to readapt to their new surroundings and rules, such as wearing masks and social distancing.

In the new year, she hopes educators and parents focus on narratives. Dr. Gearity said the way we get through hard times is by telling stories.

"I hope that teachers will make lots of room for stories and that, when the children come back, that they’ll make room every day for children to tell what they’ve experienced during COVID because what we know about stress is if you don’t get the stories organized, so they can feel like they’re past, they stay ever present," Dr. Gearity said. "Now, COVID is not going to be done in January … but we want to tell stories that empower us, it’s what grit is made of, is how do you tell stories to go forward."