The Rebound: Managing your family's anxiety while going back to school

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Posted at 6:30 AM, Aug 18, 2021

BAYSIDE — Just as coronavirus numbers ramp up, so are back to school preps.

We spoke to an Aurora Health pediatrician on how to stay safe and also lower the anxiety in one Bayside mom’s home.

Mother of five Leah Stein has a lot to juggle. Her oldest, Vivi, is 10 years old. The youngest is six-week-old Benny.

“He has no immune system, so there's a fear there, but we just keep doing what we're supposed to be doing. We hope that things will be okay," said Stein.

None of her children are old enough to receive the vaccine. This working mom at Friendship Circle of Wisconsin knows the risks. She works with children and adults living with special needs every day during programs and at Friendship Circle Cafe.

She was also hospitalized with COVID-19 while pregnant. “It’s definitely a worry and we really don’t want them to get sick," said Stein.

Dr. Jenny Thomas is a pediatrician for Aurora Health. She says anxiety with going back to school is an every-day conversation in her office. “The kids are remarkably good at picking up what's happening with the adults all around them," said Thomas.

“[My oldest] definitely asked a lot of questions. I had family members that died with COVID-19. It was really hard for them,” said Stein.

Dr. Thomas, who does not treat the Stein family, says everyone should let their child ask questions. "Making sure the subject is not off limits to the kids. They need to understand what's happening too," said Thomas.

When it comes to masks in school, Thomas supports it. “They don’t be really nice and just get one virus at a time. They get all of them. When the kids catch more than one at a time, that's when they wind up in the hospital," said Thomas.

Stein says she’s grateful the Fox Point school her children go to requires students and teachers wear masks.

“I trust the school, the school has been wonderful. They’ve been very careful last year; they did COVID-19 tests every day,” said Stein.

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