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Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 5:03 PM CDT


Between Covid-19 and virtual learning the 2020 school year is one teachers and students won’t soon forget but, with the new changes also comes adapting to them.

From the classroom to quarantine is not an easy transition that’s where Dothan City Schools healthcare liaison comes in.

“The quicker you can identify a case, the quicker you can get them out and it does lessen the amount of people you would have to quarantine. Our goal this year is to keep some normalcy for the students. So if we could not quarantine all those students, they can continue their in house learning instead of going to virtual. We do every single day keep up with numbers and as long as it doesn’t get out of hand we are able to continue to function," Heather Johnson, healthcare liaison said.

Previous experience as a manager in a Covid wing makes Johnson the perfect candidate.

I’ve taken care of tons of positive patients and I’ve seen them recover and I’ve seen them not recover. So I think that experience has helped my role here in how to make decisions to keep our staff and students safe," Johnson said.

But Covid-19 isn’t the only problem students are facing. Virtual learning, quarantine, and self-isolation has led to mental health issues.

“So I can definitely say we’ve had marked increase of crisis related situations with students compared to last year at least this early on in the school year. Normally things are a little bit more calm and obviously that’s due to month of being at home, doing virtual school prior to this school year or I don’t have my friends because I’m doing virtual, they’re at school or I’m at school and they’re at home," Andrea Zavitz, mental health services coordinator said.

Zavitz and DCS staff are making home visits and trips to schools to check in on students who appear to be struggling.

“Make sure were not letting any of those students fall through the cracks. So one of the other things we look for is absenteeism. So I personally have been going out to meet with students that have high absentee already just for the month of September just to see, what’s going on? Are you okay? Is there anything we can help with? Are there resources we can provide?” Zavitz said.

The DCS mental health coordinator has been one of four chosen to speak at a launch conference.

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