Superintendent Update # 9: – March 25, 2020

NEWS

Superintendent Update # 9: – March 25, 2020

March 25, 2020

Dear Members of the Warwick Valley CSD Community,

 Today marks the eighth consecutive school day our students, faculty, and most staff have been continuing student learning from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic. As you know, students use technology as an essential tool with distance learning. With this in mind, allow me to share information about Internet safety. Additionally, with all of us exercising social distancing, I would like to offer some mental health guidance and direct support to all community members from our school psychologists. They are a very talented and experienced group of professionals willing to support you and your family. 

Best regards,

Dr. David Leach

 Internet Safety

Reminders About Student Privacy/Safety with Internet Use: As we transition to distance learning, we must protect our students’ safety and privacy. Here are some guidelines:

  1. Do not take photos or videos of online sessions (i.e., Google Meet). 

  2. Do not post your picture on sites of any kind.

  3. Continue to use district-provided technology sites as they protect students’ personally identifiable information.

  4. Be on alert for requests to sign up for a variety of free online services that vendors are currently offering to families. These services may collect personally identifiable information from you or your children.

  5. Potential Scams: Be cautious of suspicious emails/attachments looking to steal your personal information. 

  6. Do not disclose personal information such as full name, address, phone number, social security number, etc.

  7. No online chatting with strangers.

Mental Health Support and Guidance from Warwick Valley CSD School Psychologists:

The mental health clinicians and school counselors at the Warwick Valley School District are committed to helping all community members through this time. They are available via email if you would like to set up a time to talk. Please see their contact information below. 

All of our lives have changed tremendously in the last two weeks. The situation is unprecedented and is changing rapidly. Indeed, it seems like each plan we make is quickly obsolete as conditions and information are updated. Rest assured that the Warwick Valley Central School District, like everyone in our community, is fully committed to the well-being of all. We will keep you informed as we remain responsive to the needs of our students, their families, and our staff.

We are all here to support one another during these challenging and unprecedented times.  With so many people participating in social distancing measures, you may feel more isolated during this time, but know that you are not alone.  Be mindful that what you are feeling is real and normal. Emotions, feelings, and beliefs may run the gamut at this time. 

WVCSD is currently operating through Distance Learning. Our School Counselors and School Psychologists will be available to address any student or parent concerns during this time.  We will continue to offer support to our students as much as we can through this challenging time. We have collected various resources, which include tips and information, to help our Warwick families during this time.

The Child Mind Institute outlined the following tips for families.  Maintain and create a basic routine during the week—for example, regular sleep, wake, and mealtimes. Create a visual daily planner checklist with a time frame to establish structure and self-monitoring skills. Remember, physical activity is essential! Create a physical education period of the day with various activities such as taking a walk, riding a bike, going for a hike.  Make sure to also stay social within the confines of social distancing. Facetime family and friends, utilize technology to play games with distant friends and family remotely. Take this opportunity to enjoy new found time with your family and work on home-based projects that you have previously not had time to initiate or complete.

Self-Care in the Time of Coronavirus childmind.org

When you’re a parent or caregiver, self-care often slips to the bottom of the list. But taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury. It’s essential. And during this difficult time, when children are home and stress is running high, it’s more important than ever. Here are five tips from the Child Mind Institute that can be helpful. 

Make time for yourself right now:  Much of the personal time that was part of daily routines — commutes, time alone at home or the store, social time with friends — is not available for folks with kids at home. Without it, we have to be intentional about creating space to recharge and decompress. This approach could look like taking a shower or bath, walking around the block alone (or with your dog), or designating time to read or rest after the kids have gone to bed. 

Prioritize healthy choices: The added stress and lack of structure we’re all experiencing right now can make it easy to slip into habits that feel good at the moment but can be detrimental in the long term. “Make sure you’re eating properly, try to get enough sleep (but not too much!), and create a routine that includes physical activity,” recommends Jill Emanuele, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. This approach doesn’t mean pressuring yourself to get into tip-top shape, or not eating ice cream or viewing your favorite shows. It does mean being thoughtful and intentional about how you’re treating yourself and your body. 

Be realistic: “Perfectionism and the coronavirus don’t mix,” says David Anderson, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. “It’s time to be exceedingly realistic, both at work and as a parent.” Avoid burnout by setting realistic expectations and giving yourself grace if you can’t meet them. “Practice forgiveness and self-compassion,” says Dr. Anderson. Parents should remind themselves that these are unprecedented times. “There’s no playbook for this. Remember, you’re doing your best during a very difficult time. Cut yourself some slack.”

Set boundaries: Anxiety is rampant right now. With so much worry and uncertainty floating around, it can be easy to absorb other people’s fears and concerns without even realizing it. If you have a friend or family member who’s in the habit of sending worst-case-scenario news or is prone to sending anxiety-provoking text messages, practice a little emotional distancing. Let them know you sympathize but that you’re taking a break from worrying news, or hit the Do Not Disturb button. You can always reconnect when things are calmer. 

Reconnect with things you enjoy: Think proactively of things you can do with this enforced time at home. Get back in touch with hobbies or activities you enjoy but rarely have time for, or make a choice to learn a new skill. Maybe there’s a knitting project you’ve always wanted to try, but you’ve been too busy. Or you’ve meant to learn how to needlepoint. Maybe you love jigsaw puzzles, but with rushing between work and home and caring for kids, it’s been years since you had the time to do one. If young children make solo activities unrealistic, seek out activities you can enjoy together, like baking bread or making art. Finally, remember, being kind to yourself will not only help you stay calm during this challenging time, but it will also help ensure that you have the bandwidth you need to take good care of your family. When you’re running on fumes, caring for others can tax your already depleted resources to the breaking point. But when you prioritize your needs, you’re filling the tank, emotionally and physically, and that means you’ll be in a position to offer comfort and care to others when they need it most.

Mindfulness Activities

Being mindful is like it sounds. Taking time to focus on the present, being intentional and thoughtful about where you are, and how you are feeling. Centering your thoughts and being in the moment. It sounds simple, but it takes work, especially now when concerns about what the future holds feel so pressing. Mindful activities can help. “Mindfulness isn’t complicated,” says Jill Emanuele, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. Here are some simple activities she recommends: 

Squeeze Muscles: Starting at your toes, pick one muscle and squeeze it tight. Count to five. 

Release and notice how your body changes. Repeat exercise moving up your body. 

Belly Breathing: Put one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. Slowly breathe in from your stomach (expand like a balloon) and slowly breathe out (deflate). 

Mindful Meal: Pay attention to the smell, taste, and look of your food. No multitasking. 

Meditation: Sit in a relaxed, comfortable position. Pick something to focus on, like your breath. When your mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath. 

Blowing Bubbles: Notice their shapes, textures, and colors. 

Coloring: Color something. Focus on the colors and designs. 

Listening to Music: Focus on the whole song, or listen specifically to the voice or an instrument.

Meghan McGourty

Director of Student Support Services

mmcgourty@wvcsd.org

Contacting WVCSD Staff:   The mental health clinicians and school counselors at the Warwick Valley School District are committed to helping you through this time.  We are available via email if you would like to set up a time to talk.

 

Name

Role

Building

Email

Amideneau, Colleen

School Counselor

WVHS

camideneau@wvcsd.org

Calabrese, Amanda

School Psychologists

Sandfordville

acalabrese@wvcsd.org

Careccia, Michael

School Counselor

WVHS

mcareccia@wvcsd.org

DeStaso, Danielle

School Counselor

WVHS

ddestaso@wvcsd.org

DuBois, Patrica

School Psychologists

WVMS

pdubois@wvcsd.org

Fox, Mary

Director of Guidance

WVHS

mfox@wvcsd.org

Geysen, Grace

School Counselor

Sandfordville

ggeysen@wvcsd.org

Girardi, Debra

School Psychologists

WVMS

dgirardi@wvcsd.org

LaCavalla, Daniel

School Psychologists

WVHS

dlacavalla@wvcsd.org

McCabe, James

School Psychologists

District Office

jmccabe@wvcsd.org

Menkens, William

School Counselor

WVMS

wmenkens@wvcd.org

Morabito, Elissa

School Psychologists

Park Ave

emorabito@wvcsd.org

Myrick, Jeanette

School Counselor

Park Ave

jmyrick@wvcsd.org

Ogden, Lauren

School Counselor

WVMS

logden@wvcsd.org

Rand, Rebecca

School Counselor

Park Ave

rrand@wvcsd.org

Sekelsky, Julie

School Counselor

WVHS

jsekelsky@wvcsd.org

Scotto, Tamara

School Psychologists

WVHS

tscotto@wvcsd.org

Sze, Serena

School Counselor

WVHS

ssze@wvcsd.org

Weishaupt, Caroline

School Psychologists

District Office

cweishaupt@wvcsd.org

Wright, Margaret

School Counselor

WVMS

mwright@wvcsd.org

 

Immediate emergency including self harm/harm to others- Please call 911

 

Local Mental Health Services in office and via teletherapy

Mental Health Workers are considered “essential”

 

Name

Contact Information

Katie Parent, LMSW

Orange County Department of Mental Health

(845) 545-7004

KParent@orangecountygov.com

Anthony Moscatello, LCSW

 (teens only)

(845) 477-5455

anthony.moscatellolcsw@gmail.com

Amy Wohl, LMSW

(845) 418-4282

amy@innerventure.net

Kayla Diorio, LCSW

(845) 551-2942

kdioriolcsw@gmail.com

www.KaylaDiorio.com

Nourish Your Mind Practice

nourishyourmind.com

(845) 547-0479

Vitality Psychiatry Group Practice

www.vitalitypsychiatry.org

(914) 502-3998

Jim Einstman, LCSW, CSAC

(845) 480-4141

Laurie Ann Conklin, LMHC

(teens and adults only)

(917) 892-6544

Patricia Quinn, PLLC

Art Therapist

(845) 649-0953

David Bove, LCSW

(845) 615-9608

Suzannah Espinosa, PhD

(845) 624-2994

 

Important Numbers:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

800-273-TALK

Crisis Text Line

www.crisistextline.org

Text HELLO to 741741

National Runaway Switchboard

800 RUNAWAY

Orange County Crisis Call Center

800-832-1200

 

Important Websites: 

www.calm.com has created a page of free resources for families to use to further connect and strengthen our inner mental health during this time.

https://childmind.org/  The Child Mind Institute is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. 

https://www.cdc.gov/ Center for Disease Control has created information for families on COVID-19 

https://www.nasponline.org/ National Association of School Psychologists has developed a COVID-19 Resource Center

https://www.actionforhealthykids.org/resources-for-schools-and-families-during-covid-19-coronavirus/  They have created free online resources for exploratory learning, physical activity, mindfulness, and more.

https://www.autismspeaks.org/covid-19-information-and-resources Autism Speaks has provided information on how to talk with children who have Autism about COVID-19

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