Trails Carolina Educates Students on Their Role in COVID Pandemic
Covid-19 has changed everyone’s world completely. And adjusting to new normals is a challenge everyone faces. Making sure that children are still receiving the same quality education, despite the challenges the pandemic presents, requires flexibility and a commitment to doing the absolute and consistent best. At Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for preteens and adolescents ages 10-17, teachers are educating students on the science behind the virus and how they can keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe.
Academic programming at Trails is incorporated throughout the wilderness and base camp components of the program. Trails students participate in a traditional academic classroom back at base camp. This can help students gain confidence in a traditional classroom setting and make transitioning back to those environments after Trails easier. As part of the current curriculum, students get updates on current Covid statistics at the start of each science class from “Science Steve” O’Neil, Ecology Specialist. This includes the numbers and facts about where the school, state and country stand and the science behind the pandemic. Students analyze and interpret data on Covid spread from John Hopkins University. “I feel it is partly my responsibility, as a naturalist and science communicator at Trails, to work to impart only the facts of this pandemic to our students,” Steve said. Steve shares video clips related to the science behind Covid and the precautions folks on campus can take, like The Science Behind Facemasks or How A Virus Spreads So Easily. He then gives students time for discussion and also some reassurance.
“After viewing the video clips I take questions and work to reassure the students that the experts will get this under control and get us through this and that we can all play a part in getting to a cure faster by listening to and following the recommendations of those experts,” Steve said. Steve ends each discussion with an update on the search for a vaccine and/or a cure.
Steve and other Trails instructors are teaching students to “physically distance” rather than socially distance. “I use the term physical distancing because, while we need to be physically distant, we do not need to be socially distant,” says Steve. “Now more than ever we need the help and support of our friends, family, teachers, mentors, and therapists – just not as close as in the past – distant, but not disconnected.”
Trails Carolina will continue to monitor the pandemic and guidelines from local and federal authorities. As new information becomes available, they will adapt their strategy. For now, staff and students will continue to take precautions- staying “physically” distant, but still connected.
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy for pre-teens and adolescents ages 10-17. The clinically sophisticated and time-tested program engages students through wilderness therapy, mindfulness and yoga, equine-assisted therapy, intentional transitions, and academic engagement. Recent outcome research demonstrates efficacy. Trails Carolina was created to help families reconnect and heal. For additional information about Trails Carolina, located just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.