Religion Today: Back to the Classroom – A Game Plan for Reducing Anxiety

Back-to-school supplies were a bit different this year for 12-year-old Audrey.

Along with a day planner, an array of pens and a thick notebook, Audrey added face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.

“I’m not sure how it’s going to completely work,” said Audrey of her middle school in Southern California. “How many kids are going to be in each classroom? Are we going to have a table where we sit together?”

Audrey, like many across the country, spent the last school year in a virtual classroom interacting with other students and teachers only via a computer screen. Going back to in-person learning with potential restrictions only added to her anxiety.


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“I love seeing my students in person again, but I also worry for them because I understand that after a duration of isolation and uncertainty, the in-person learning experience that’s supposed to be ‘normal’ may feel like a new beginning for many
students,” said Rachel, an English teacher in Southern California.

But parents can help prepare their children for what may be a tough transition.

“Maintaining an open line of communication to gauge how they’re feeling during this time is important,” Rachel said. “Having a simple conversation with the students will help immensely.”

Audrey’s parents, John and Michelle, email teachers with questions and regularly talk with Audrey about her day. They also designate every Saturday afternoon as family time.

As Jehovah’s Witnesses, they look for practical Bible-based advice to help with any issues or concerns.

“We review how to display Christian qualities such as love and patience and have role-playing sessions to listen to how Audrey would react to stressful or dangerous situations,” said John. “This has helped Audrey feel confident about returning to school.”

While coronavirus variants have amplified pandemic anxieties, Audrey’s parents have endeavored not to overlook other challenges their daughter may face.


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One of their favorite resources is, the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses that is free to all. Topics like “What’s a Real Friend?” and “Beat a Bully Without Using Your Fists” are addressed there in a video series for young people that Audrey recommends to everyone.

“The website has some really cool information that has helped me prepare for back to school,” Audrey said. “I think it can really benefit any student who is nervous about going back. They should really check it out!”

Submitted by Jehovah’s Witnesses – Public Information Desk

Contact the editor: [email protected]

Trevor Montgomery, 50, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.