Owensboro Public Schools have set up websites and are using virtual classrooms for students and families to have easy access to connect with counselors for a variety of concerns as they deal with the uniqueness of this school year.
“We recognize the importance of mental health and social/emotional well-being,” said Summer Bell OPS Mental Health Coordinator. “Throughout this time we wanted to make sure students were able to access mental health services and counseling services that we offer here.”
Bell said some schools have created websites, while others are utilizing tools like Google Classroom to connect.
“These sites have resources not just for students but for families also,” Bell said. “It’s as simple as a student going to that site and clicking on a counselor and the counselor getting back to them.”
Bell said students have enjoyed being able to talk to counselors using video conferencing, as it helps instill a sense of familiarity.
“They are enjoying being able to connect with their counselor — that familiar face,” she said. “During this time with everything being different and the learning environment being different, the kids need that familiar face and to be able to take advantage of some of the services provided.”
On the sites, families can find various activities and resource guides. Content is tailored to elementary, middle and high school levels.
“There is a wealth of resources on those pages,” Bell said. “We are focusing on coping mechanisms and coping strategies, positive self-talk.”
OPS is expected to return to in-person classes at all grade levels on an A/B schedule beginning Oct. 12. At the elementary levels, OPS has begun bringing back small groups of students at a time for short periods a couple days a week. The decision was made in part because they are the students most in need of the in-person instruction, but it also allows the district to get a taste for what a return to the classroom looks like.