March 18, 2020
Dear RJK Families,
Many areas of the world are experiencing the outbreak of COVID-19. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization dubbed the virus a pandemic. While there is no global agreement of how to define the word, it is largely concurred that it is in reference to the rate at which the virus spreads. In efforts to slow the spread of the virus, many state officials have recommended the closing of schools and businesses.
As you know, the Monticello Central School District has made the difficult decision to close buildings and move to remote education. This effort is aimed at limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and in accordance with the state recommendation. Although our school buildings are closed to students and staff, the district remains committed to serving the MCSD community and providing ongoing guidance and resources through this unprecedented situation.
What does this mean for school counseling?
Those students who rely on their counselors for support are encouraged to reach out via email, if possible, or by calling their counselor’s phone extensions to leave a message. Counselors will routinely be checking our voicemails and emails. In times such as these, we find ourselves in a unique position to offer support to the community. We are trained with crisis response skills and also have strong relationships with many of our students and families. While the support we are able to offer is limited in this current climate, we are eager to help. If you have any questions or general concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.
School counselors aim to support all students in the areas of career, academic and social/emotional development. While we are implementing means of doing so remotely, we encourage students and their families to seek out additional resources related to their needs.
Before we are educators, counselors, administrators and parents to our own children, we are humans. We will successfully navigate this matter, as we have done with pandemics in years past. Here are some gentle reminders as we move forward:
1. Separate what is in your control from what is not. There are steps you can take, such as washing your hands thoroughly, practicing social distancing, limiting your consumption of news and taking your vitamins.
2. Do what helps you feel safe. This will vary from person to person. Perhaps calling a friend or family member, watching a funny movie or being creative is helpful. Just take care not to isolate yourself.
3. Challenge yourself to stay present. You may find yourself worrying not only about the current situation but also what’s to come. Gently give yourself permission to come back
to the present moment. Notice the sights and sounds around you. Practicing mindfulness activities is one way to stay grounded.
4. Stay connected with your circle. Pick up the phone and talk to a trusted friend about how you are feeling. If you are particularly anxious, or struggling with your mental health, it is okay to reach out to a mental health professional for help. You don’t have to be alone with your worry The Crisis Text line is a great resource. Text TALK to 741741 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK*
Thank you to Dr. Doreen Marshall at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for these tips. Below is a list of additional resources and contact information you may find helpful:
Children’s Mobile Mental Health
Mental Health Toll Free Hotline (for ages 18+)
Sullivan County RISE (Rape Intervention Services and Education) 24 hour Crisis Hotline
Safe Passage Domestic Violence
National Suicide Hotline:
Text 273TALK to 839863
Meals on Wheels
Child Care Council/Child Care/Day Care
Food Pantries (please call to inquire about pick up details)
Federation for the Homeless
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Hudson Valley Community Services
United Way of Sullivan County Emergency Food
Church of Nazarene
United Methodist Church
Faith Ministries of White Lake Reformed Presbyterian Church
Blessing Shephard’s Pantry
(845) 583-5885 or (845) 707-2333
Soul Food Café @ United Methodist Church
St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
Vine & Branch
As more information becomes available to the district, it will be shared with you. Be on the look out for postings on the MCSD website, the RJK Guidance department webpage and on Twitter @GuidanceRJK. We look forward to your partnership with us as we all manage this rapidly evolving situation. Please remember that we can be reached through email or phone (845-796-3058) using the information below.
Jennifer Ducey, Counselor and Department Instructional Lead, ext 20955, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shannon Follansbee, 6th Grade Counselor, ext 20953, email@example.com
Laurie Oshinsky, 8th Grade Counselor, ext 20958, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brittany Zaccaria, 7th Grade Counselor, ext 20959, email@example.com
Your RJK School Counselors