A message of hope and calm during this time of coronavirus.
The outbreak of the coronavirus is unprecedented. Never before in our lives, let alone the lives of our students, have we had to face such a global threat. This threat discriminates. Our loved ones who are elderly or have health risks are prime targets for this unseen and largely unknown virus. The news is different hour by hour. Each day, uncertainty grows and fear can escalate.
It is at times like this we realize we are a global community. We can get through this together. We can fight this with strength better when we are united, together, than when we are isolated, fighting alone. Social distancing not withstanding, right now we need to figuratively touch each other more than ever. Sharing and compassion, considerateness and kindness will take us through this trial.
The coronavirus is having so many unforeseen consequences. As colleges shutter their dorms and send students home to do online learning, they are canceling all college tours and sending their admissions officers home to work. College admissions decisions will be delayed. Seniors will not have the traditional “Admitted Students” days to use to help them decide on campuses to say “Yes” to. The deposit deadlines are being moved. Juniors had SAT tests cancelled, AP tests are in flux, and spring break is now going to be filled with online learning, not on campus visits. How far will all of this take us? How long will the uncertainty last? No one has an answer to this question.
As counselors, we have a prime opportunity to be role models for our students and parents. As everything around us is dissolving into chaos, we can become a calming presence. Parents and students will turn to you for answers, for reassurance, for acknowledgement of their fears and apprehensions. Through clear, calm and honest communication you can reassure the students/parents that the colleges have their best interests at heart, and that no one will be disadvantaged or purposely left behind during this world wide threat.
- Communicate. Send regular emails, texts, or make phone calls to reassure students/parents.
- Inform. Keep up to date on the latest news on college deadline changes, admissions tests and other items of importance to seniors and other students/parents.
- Be accessible. Let students/parents know how your prefered method of communication. Then keep those channels open for parents/students to reach out to you.
- Adapt. What do you need to take your college counseling online? Explore ways you can adapt your counseling approach to virtual instead of in person meeting. Do you need additional tools to make this easier and more efficient for you?
- Model. Use this opportunity to model leadership and calmness in the wake of a tremendous challenge. Your steadiness will calm the nerves and steady the boat as we go through this corona virus experience.
how to keep parents/students updated using links in your GuidedPath account
how to use YouVisits to substitute for college campus tours
how to use the testing section to track testing changes
how to use assignments and appointment to augment and enhance your counseling practice
additional best practices for offering services online, using calendars, schedulers, test preparation websites and more
In the meantime, please take care of yourself. Please be safe. Be calm. Be a role model for your students/parents. Your calming presence will be greatly appreciated now and years into the future.
Cyndy McDonald, Founder and past president of GuidedPath