KC metro high schoolers feel mental health relief with return to classroom

Posted at 5:01 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 19:55:13-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City metro school districts are giving high school students some relief with a return to in-person learning this semester.

"I also understand it's going to be no where near normal," Maria Heath, a Shawnee Mission South High School senior, said. "We will be back in-person March 22, definitely four days a week."

Heath said she is thrilled about going back to school full-time because this past year for teens has been rough.

"It's been a challenge," she said. "I am an honors student and so trying to do AP study work from home."

Local doctors agree that teens' emotional well-being is in need of that relief.

"One of the big things that we saw from staying home was a big feeling of overwhelmed by having to do all of those pieces of homework and school without the same structure and support that we are used to getting from teachers and admins," Dr. Savannah Geske, a licensed psychologist with Saint Luke's Behavioral Health Specialists, said.

Heath said the structure of preparing for school will help her personally.

"I have to get up. I have to brush my teeth. I have to put on my makeup. I have to get dressed. Part of that routine is really good for my mental health," she said.

Senior Will Gurley, who attends Kansas City Christian School, has been learning in-person all year and has seen others grapple with the learning changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I know my friends who I have talked to have really struggled with it going back and forth with being at home to being at school," Gurley said. "Coupled with sports being all different and extracurriculars."

Overall, students going back full-time said this will be a game changer.

"We are hoping back things we lost that last quarter," Heath said. "I am hoping to graduate in-person. Hoping to have a choir concert that will be recorded, with masks, of course, but we will all get to sing together."

For students who are nervous about returning back to the classroom because of the virus, doctors said educating is key – let them know that wearing masks and social distancing will help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

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