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HCC Webinar ‘Re-opening Schools: Shared perspectives on navigating mental health during COVID-19’

Published 24 September 2020

Buckie Got It, St. Kitts and Nevis News Source

Re-opening Schools: Shared perspectives on navigating mental health during COVID-19 is the fifth installment of the HCC’s COVID-19 and NCDs in the Caribbean webinar series, if you have registered already we look forward to seeing you at the webinar on Friday September 25th, 2020 from 10:00am – 11:30am EST, if not there is still time to register for the event here.

This webinar will explore the mental health concerns of key actors within schools as they reopen across the region and to discuss strategies to cultivate school ecosystems that support positive mental health and well-being.

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically transformed schooling as we know it – largely shutting down traditional face to face education and forcing children, teachers and parents to struggle with an entirely new world of virtual learning. Significant uncertainty still looms as educational institutions across the Caribbean prepare for the 20/21 academic year.

We are already beginning to see the negative mental health impacts of the pandemic on students and teachers in the school community. Guidance counselors designated to provide in-school support may be ill-equipped to handle the anticipated rise in mental health issues experienced by children. Parents and caregivers have been highlighted as key actors in this new school system serving their role as a parent while also navigating virtual learning / homeschooling and providing holistic support for their children during this time.

All of these challenges are further exacerbated for children living with disabilities who very often require face to face, hands on support from highly trained professionals. The loss of this specialized care is having devastating emotional impacts on the children, families and their teachers.

This is a new and challenging space for many, and discussions that highlight concerns and guide strategies that will support positive mental health and wellbeing are critical.


Through a guided discussion, panellists will explore the following key themes over the course of the webinar:

  1. Overview of COVID-19 protocols within the school context and mental health concerns that may manifest in the “classroom”.
  2. Sharing student, parent, teacher/ guidance counsellor experiences with COVID-19 and the school environment.
  3. Navigating student, parent and teacher/guidance counsellor’s concerns related to adjusting to the new school environment (virtual, face to face learning or the blended approach).
  4. Strategies, tools and policy-level recommendations to support mental health resilience in a new school ecosystem.


  • Dr. Elisa Prieto,PAHO NCDs and Mental Health Subregional Advisor
  • Mr. Pierre Cooke Jr,HCC Youth Technical Advisor


  • Dr. Eldonna Boisson, Epidemiologist PAHO Advisor, Disease Surveillance and Epidemiology
  • Dr. Claudina Cayetano, Psychiatrist, PAHO Mental Health Regional Advisor (NMH/MH)
  • Ms. Harriet Liddie, Counsellor, Antiguan Ministry of Education, Science & Technology
  • Mrs. Nekeisha Reid, Parent
  • Ms. Jara Emtage-Cave, Student, 6th Form Graduate

Register for the webinar here .

Previous webinars from the series can be viewed here .

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