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Managing Uncertainty During Crisis

Janmaris Perez, Host: We're all waiting for signs of when life in New York might even begin to get back to normal. The way things used to be, when we can emerge from isolation, go back to school and to work, end and social distancing. Sarah Gelbard looks at how people are managing while we wait. 

Sarah Gelbard, Byline: Hillary Goldman is a preschool teacher in Brooklyn. She has struggled with knowing how catastrophic coronavirus is for so many people across the country. She's been fielding concerns from her three and four-year-old students.

Goldman: You know, this has like been the most pressing question for the children recently, like, when am I going to go back to school? Why is school closed? And when am I going to see my friends? 

Gelbard: The first remote lesson was about making a schedule. 

Goldman: Some of the ways that I described it is like “Oh, how nice is it to know how your day is gonna go and to know what comes first and what comes after and how every day your date your schedule will change.”

Gelbard: By helping the kids, she has been more able to make her own quarantine schedule. Brad Klontz is a psychologist who teaches at Creighton University. He agrees that such coping strategies are useful.

Klontz: Is this a situation that you feel like you can tackle that you have confidence that you can see through, overcome? Or do you feel like you're drowning and you worry that you have the ability to cope with it?

Gelbard: He says reframing situations can be especially beneficial. Goldman has done this for her students.

Goldman: You know, why is my mom and dad not coming home? They're both first responders and they can't. This child is left without her mom or her dad and reframing it to be like, actually, your mom is a hero, your dad's a hero and you're a hero.

Gelbard: Helping her students to reframe has helped Goldman, too. Sarah Gelbard, Columbia Radio News.


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