New data finds 3 in 4 teens are worried about getting COVID at school

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Masking rules, social distancing and extra sanitation procedures are in place at many schools. But that doesn't stop some students and parents from feeling concerned about catching COVID-19.

A new poll from Blue Shield of California's Blue-Sky Initiative discovered eye-opening statistics after surveying 500 middle and high school students across the state.

"Three in four of students were concerned about catching COVID at school. Eight in ten were worried about academic achievement, and 60% of students were concerned about seeing their friends in person," said Jennifer Christian-Herman, executive director of Mind-Body Medicine for Blue Shield. "So a lot of different things going on but in general a high level of anxiety."

Those statistics are leading to mental health concerns among parents and professionals.

Central Unified School District's lead psychologist Shant Avakian said he had noticed a difference in the number of students seeking support.

He wants to remind all families that resources are available in many capacities.

RELATED: COVID-19 cases in children reach levels not seen since winter surge

"The lessons in the classroom, maybe some classrooms are dealing with certain issues, and we can tailor that. And a lot of individual counseling as well, and linking families with other agencies because something is beyond the scope of the school," said Avakian.

Christian-Herman said through it all, there is a silver lining amid this challenging time: more students are speaking up.

The survey shows that 54% of students talked about their mental health with a friend and 46% with a parent. Around 20% spoke with a teacher and 18% with a counselor.

"Knowing the magnitude really helps all of us to be prepared, and I think it's really normalizing the students as well. 'It's not just me having these things. I'm worried as well, but everyone is having these concerns." Christian-Herman said.

The hope is students and parents will continue to have an open mind even after the pandemic.

To learn more details about the data found or find additional resources to help your child navigate their return to school, head to bluesky.blueshieldca.com.

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