COVID-19 and Mental Health Considerations Amid Reintegration to School

1.0 Impact of Stress and Trauma

To close your eyes will not ease
another’s pain.

- Chinese Proverb

Stress and trauma can affect a student’s academic performance, behavior in class, physical health, interpersonal relationships, and mental health. Understanding the impact of trauma by being trauma-informed means that when encountering difficulty with a student, the first thought is “how might this relate to trauma”, rather than willful disobedience. Understanding how traumatic stress impacts a student does not excuse their behavior, but rather explains it.

Trauma Sensitive Schools explains how learning is impacted by trauma:

“Learning to read, write, take part in a discussion, and solve mathematical problems rests on many underlying foundations—organization, comprehension, memory, the ability to produce work, engagement in learning, and trust. Another prerequisite for achieving classroom competency is the ability to self-regulate attention, emotions, and behavior. Not surprisingly, trauma resulting from overwhelming experiences has the power to disturb a student’s development of these foundations for learning. It can undermine the development of language and communication skills, thwart the establishment of a coherent sense of self, compromise the ability to attend to classroom tasks and instructions, interfere with the ability to organize and remember new information, and hinder the grasping of cause-and-effect relationships—all of which are necessary to process information effectively.” (Trauma Sensitive Schools, 2018)

Texas Education Code (TEC) requires each school district to adopt and implement a policy requiring the integration of trauma-informed practices in each school environment. A district must include the policy in their district improvement plan, as required under Section 11.252 (District-level Planning and Decision-making). TEC 38.036

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Download Section 1: Impact of Stress and Trauma