As students transition back into the classroom at Escondido High School, their teachers and administrators will be paying attention to more than just the curriculum and grades.
“This is the first time in 17 months that our students have been together, all at once, five days a week,” said Kim Bodie, a social worker at Escondido Union High School. “So, as you can imagine, this is a big transition for our students.”
Bodie said they will be focusing more attention than ever on mental health.
Escondido High School built and designed a wellness center aimed at assisting students in transitioning back to the classroom. They hope to ease students back after online learning for more than a year.
“So many of our students had not had time together" or access to support, said Bodie.
The wellness center is made up of meeting spaces for school social workers to engage with students, as well as several lounge areas for students to relax.
“Students can come in and complete a self-assessment to self-refer to services and also access books, school social workers and other resources,” Bodie said.
According to a report published last week by JAMA Pediatrics, during the pandemic, depression and anxiety in youth doubled compared with pre-pandemic levels. According to the research, one in four adolescents globally are experiencing depression, while one in five is struggling with anxiety.
“So this is just coming at such a critical time,” Bodie said.
It's a time that the district, which is in the process of building and designing wellness centers at Orange Glen Middle School and San Pasqual High School, hopes to make easier for students. The hope is to have those facilities ready to go by December.