Assistant State Health Officer and pediatrician talks children’s mental health as schools prepare to reopen


DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — As schools prepare to restart classes, both in-face and virtually, many parents and students are concerned about what to expect for the 2020-2021 school year.

According to Assistant State Health Officer and pediatrician Dr. Karen Landers, students must be provided as normal an environment as possible.

“I think it’s part of an overall picture, not only of an educational approach, but a mental health approach,” Landers said. “It’s very important that we have on-site opportunities for children to learn in the school setting.”

For parents deciding whether to send their child to school or to use virtual learning, Landers listed several factors parents should consider.

“Parents need to make the decision they feel the most comfortable for their child or children,” Landers said. “And also, given the age group of the child or children, parents can make decisions that are most appropriate for them. But the way I would look at it is from the standpoint how do we feel we can empower our children to be able to function in this new normal? Some parents will ultimately decide on a virtual approach and that’s OK if that’s what they feel is best for their children. Other parents will feel that it’s very important to get their kids back into the school setting, into the social setting, and into the interactive activity in the classroom. And again, that’s acceptable. It has to be a balance between what is best for the child and also where the parents feel they can be the most comfortable with this approach.”

To see Dr. Lander’s full interview, watch the video above.

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