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Changes due to COVID-19 can cause stress as students return to school, psychiatrist says

A psychiatrist said that students spend much of the school-day being reminded of everything that has changed since they were last in school.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It's been around 6 months since students were last in classrooms, and returning to them may lead to a lot of stress. One psychiatrist said that students may spend much of the day being constantly reminded of everything that's changed since they were last in school.

"There'll be some kids learning from home and the classrooms won't be as full," said John Kupfner, a psychiatrist with Peninsula Behavioral Health. "The teachers may be wearing protective barriers, so there's a lot of visual queues to kids that's going to keep them still concerned that this is not life as normal."

He said that parents and teachers should focus on positives to help relieve kids' stress. For example, they can remind kids that they can continue seeing friends after school.

Kupfner also said it can help for parents to develop morning routines ahead of time and to prepare students for what they may see at school. Most of all, he said it's important to remind them that all the changes are meant to keep everyone safe.