School officials encourage parents to discuss COVID-19 with children


(WJHL)- With a positive case of the Coronavirus identified in Sullivan County, area schools are taking more precautions when it comes to keeping kids healthy.

On top of enforcing already existing policies such as frequent hand washing, coughing into the shoulder, and wiping down frequently touched surfaces, school officials are now having conversations with students about the spread of the disease.

Now that cases have been identified in the United States and closer to home in Tennessee and Virginia, kids and teens are starting to ask serious questions about the Coronavirus. Lynn Kain, the middle and high school supervisor at Tri-Cities Christian School, said she spoke with her high school students Friday morning.

She’s urging them to practice health measures not just for themselves, but also for the sake of others. “You might be fine but there are people that you come into contact with every day and you don’t wanna make them sick,” said Kain.

Tri-Cities Christian School has a total student body just shy of 170 kids. Kain said because they’re school is smaller, it’s easier to wipe down frequently touched places a number of times throughout the day.

She also told News Channel 11 that custodial staff is working harder than ever to keep the school in tip-top shape. They also recently received a donation for cleaning supplies that will continue to aid them in their efforts to maintain the cleanest environment possible.

However, no matter how clean the school is kept, it’s up to students to do their part as well and maintain good health measures. Kain said students have been urged to bring their own supplies to art classes to avoid the use of shared materials and the spreading of germs.

Staff and students at Tri-Cities Christian are continuing to have daily conversations about the Coronavirus and how it affects them. Kain told News Channel 11 that the mood among students at their school has been calm but curious.

“They always ask and teenagers will always ask this question are they overdoing it? Are they doing too much? I think instead of focusing on those things, it’s really important to focus on the fact that we want to keep other people healthy,” she said.

Kain said they are continuing to take the same precautions they do every flu season with constant cleaning and re-education, but that talking to your child about this new disease is important.

At Fairmont Elementary in Johnson City, school counselors said it’s important to answer questions your kids may have, but be sure to keep it age-appropriate.

“Listen to what they already know or what they already think that they know and go from there. They will have some questions and some questions we have to filter as we answer,” said Fairmont Elementary School Counselor, Laura Henderson.

Henderson said their school is always an open platform for students to discuss how they feel. She says they teach expression of feelings starting with kindergarten so they can utilize this skill as they grow older.

Henderson says while students have questions, it’s important to just listen first rather than overshare details about the virus. She said curiosity is the main feeling she is seeing among students regarding the Coronavirus and that panic is not.

At Fairmont, they are re-teaching proper health measures year-round and making sure their students are staying healthy and getting their questions answered. Alongside health measures, and custodial staff working around the clock, they also work with Frontier health and have resources available for students at all times.

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