From remote learning to missing their friends and regular routines, the pandemic has been especially difficult for kids.
Tuesday evening, Wayne CAN (Child Advocacy Network) hosted a virtual town hall with the purpose of showing the key issues that need to be addressed to help Wayne County’s children succeed.
Dr. David Tayloe from Goldsboro Pediatrics says mental health issues are on the rise as kids are cooped up around the home.
Tayloe also says the obesity epidemic amongst kids has been accelerated during the pandemic.
Dr. Carol Artis with Wayne County Public Schools noted some of the problems that are being seen in students, including student and family anxiety about returning to the classroom.
Dr. Marcia Manning with Wayne County Public Schools says it’s critical to support students at this time.
Manning says even the brightest students can struggle with distance learning and they may disengage from their studies due to depression, anxiety or other mental health issues.
WCPS has launched a campaign to ensure teachers know those students are not lazy.
Dr. Manning says WCPS only has seven school psychologists for the over 17,000 students in the district, which is still more than funded through the state.
Valerie Wallace with the Partnership for Children of Wayne County talked about the impacts for the Early Childhood community.
Wallace says 32% of childhood workers had left the field, and the pandemic has only exacerbated that.
Patricia Beier with the WAGES community action agency in Goldsboro listed several recommendations to assist children during the pandemic, including:
- Increase funding for the dire shortage of school nurses, school psychologists and school social workers in North Carolina
- Increase salary compensation for early childhood educators with degrees in early education
- Approve language for an affordable housing bond that could be placed on a statewide ballot
- Extend post-partum coverage for Medicaid recipients from six weeks up to one year after a child’s birth
According to organizers, State Rep. Raymond Smith of Goldsboro was the lone local legislator that took part in Tuesday’s Zoom meeting to hear about the issues confronting children during the pandemic.