Dear FPS students, families and staff,
We are mindful of the fact that we have all been inundated with enough information to tax the most advanced computer. Our brain is not a computer, and is not meant to process such large amounts of information at one time. And while computers don’t feel stress and anxiety, we do. In the coming weeks, our mental health staff will pull together information intended to help you cope with the uncertainty in our current reality. Luckily, we have so many wonderful resources in our community, and the collaboration, reflection and re-calibration that has happened is awe-inspiring. We don’t have all the “right” answers, and that is perfectly okay. This is life. There is no guide manual. We don’t need to strive for perfection now; we need to strive for safety and well-being. While by nature we are a school district, and much focus has been on instruction this week, we know that in time this part will get easier. The “new learning” will slow down a bit. We need to be patient with ourselves, our children and our school staff/colleagues.
Even the most levelheaded folks are feeling the anxiety of the unknown right now, and while many of us seek outside information to find answers, let us all try to take this time to turn inward and think about creating healthy routines in our new normal, including talking and listening to one another. We are all doing the best we can in this moment, and it is enough… Reach out, talk and listen to one another. Take the time to check on those you love, who are at a “social distance.” Identify what is acting as a stressor, and problem-solve ways to make it a bit better, if only for today. Tell yourself that you are doing just fine, and you are doing your best, as are those around you. I myself have spent countless hours scouring all the guidance documents out there. The common takeaways from most:
- Remain calm and reassuring. Our loved ones take cues from us (both verbal and nonverbal).
- Be available to each other to answer questions, acknowledge fears, and provide facts.
- Avoid blaming (e.g., stereotyping, negativity, etc.). We are universally affected by the current events, and in this, we are connected.
- Limit/monitor news outlets via television and social media. The information is coming fast and furious, and changing daily. Try to find one source of information that works for you and yours, and commit to only checking in daily.
- Maintain normal routines to the greatest extent possible and/or work together as a family to create new routines. Give each member of the family a sense of control over the outcomes.
- Find ways to tolerate the anxiety and stress you are feeling in a moment. Most emotions will wane after 1-2 minutes, so look for “go to” strategies that will help you cope and move ahead (e.g., deep breathing, mindfulness practices, taking a walk, reading a book, listening to a favorite song, playing a game, calling a loved one, etc.). More suggestions to come on this front!
- Connect with those you love, if even for just a few minutes. Help your kids connect with their peers, whether via phone, FaceTime, Zoom and/or snail mail.
- Recognize that we are all here for you. We are missing seeing the faces of our students, colleagues and parents. Even if you don’t have frequent contact with the “helping people” in your buildings (e.g., school counselors, social workers, school psychologists), we are here, thinking of you and yours, working together to puzzle through the best way to support our students and colleagues. A list of these folks in all buildings will be shared early next week.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, comments, requests and ideas. Let us know what you need, and we will do our absolute best to think creatively to find solutions.
I’m so grateful and proud to be part of this district…Please be well