Letter from RJK Counselors during COVID-19 closure

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
(845) 701-3777

Mental Health Toll Free Hotline (for ages 18+)
(800) 710-7083

Sullivan County RISE (Rape Intervention Services and Education) 24 hour Crisis Hotline
(845) 791-9595

Safe Passage Domestic Violence
(845) 292-5700

National Suicide Hotline:

Teen Line:
Text 273TALK to 839863

Meals on Wheels
(845) 807-0241

Child Care Council/Child Care/Day Care
(845) 292-7166

Food Pantries (please call to inquire about pick up details)


Federation for the Homeless
(845) 794-2604

St. John’s Episcopal Church
(845) 794-8111

Hudson Valley Community Services
(845) 791-8871

United Way of Sullivan County Emergency Food
(845) 794-1771

Rock Hill:

Church of Nazarene
(845) 796-3729

United Methodist Church
(845) 796-3833

White Lake:

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
(845) 292-6243

St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church
(845) 747-4073

Lighthouse Ministries
(845) 985-7026

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
Interfaith Council
(845) 292-4626

Vine & Branch
(845) 292-5227

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, jducey@k12mcsd.net

Shannon Follansbee, 6th Grade Counselor, ext 20953, sfollansbee@k12mcsd.net

Laurie Oshinsky, 8th Grade Counselor, ext 20958, loshinsky@k12mcsd.net

Brittany Zaccaria, 7th Grade Counselor, ext 20959, bharden@k12mcsd.net


Be well,

Your RJK School Counselors