The Impact of Social Distancing
The social distancing rules that have taken hold in America’s urban centers around the country, where the coronavirus is spreading exponentially, might seem entirely unnecessary in Rural Nebraska. In Rural America neighbors live quite far apart from one another and working at home for many means another day branding animals or driving alone in a tractor through an empty field.
But the spread of the pandemic across the country is impacting those in rural areas as well. Inhabitants in Nebraska’s rural communities are feeling increasingly vulnerable and threatened. While tiny towns in South Dakota and Oregon may not as yet have registered a single case of COVID-19, their hospitals and medical clinics are overwhelmed with concern.
The residents in these communities are very frightened that the disease will penetrate their homes from outsiders, especially from those fleeing urban centers to Rural America for safety and refuge. Although it hasn’t happened in large measure yet, these residents already imagine the difficulty of social isolation and the impact on their economies that were in trouble even before the COVID-19 outbreak.
The traditional ways that rural Americans connect, whether it be a bingo night or lunching in the local diner, are about to become taboo. The disruptions caused by the Coronavirus outbreak are causing many in these communities to feel disconnected and disoriented from the life that they have always known and cherished.
“Rural people are reliant on their neighbors and have more confidence and trust in their neighbors,” said Ken Johnson, a senior demographer at the Carsey School of Public Policy and professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire. “Now, you have people who are supposed to self-isolate themselves.”
For Rural Nebraska, the problem reaches beyond social distancing. What we are facing, for many, is a threat to the very fabric of which these communities are constructed.
The Impact of School Closures
Aside from the general challenge facing these communities, is how the outbreak is impacting children as a result of rapid school closures in response to the COVID-19 virus. School closures have left school officials around the country scrambling to quickly replace face-to-face education and therapy with remote instruction and remote therapy.
However, when it comes to going online, unlike their urban counterparts where internet access and the availability of computers are abundant, some rural school districts face formidable challenges in transitioning to remote instruction and remote therapy. This is due to insufficient internet access in some rural districts as well as the lack of available computers.
Unfortunately for those communities that lack sufficient internet access, it can’t be expected that there will be any substantial changes in infrastructure during this challenging time. For these communities, other imaginative solutions need to be found to help students until the outbreak is over.
On the other hand, many communities already have sufficient internet access to provide remote educational and remote therapy. However, some of those communities, despite having the capacity to do so, have yet to switch over to the online venue. For these communities, making the transition to online as quickly as possible is both possible and advised.
While it is clear that the growing challenges facing the country are exacerbated in many rural communities, it is crucial to make distinctions. Some of the challenges they have no control over, however; others such as maintaining their children’s education and therapy, as a result of the wonders of modern technology, can be overcome with remote education and remote therapy.
Help Your Students Cope with the Crisis
Due to Global Teletherapy’s unique role in children’s K-12 education, they feel a responsibility to do what they can to help schools, therapists, and students during the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19. In this spirit, Global Teletherapy, a leader in the delivery of remote therapy, has adopted a three-pronged approach to assist.
First of all, Global Teletherapy is offering online webinars, essentially support sessions, to help to mitigate the anxiety being experienced by the thousands of students and their parents who are quarantined around the country. These webinars, geared to students and parents from all three of their disciplines, are given by their very experienced therapists who have donated their time.
Second, Global Teletherapy is offering online therapist training to assist school-based clinical teams in moving their services online quickly, efficiently, and professionally. This online training, by enabling remote therapy, will minimize the disruption of services for thousands of children who are in danger of being left without necessary therapy during these difficult times.
And finally, their blogs posted on The Global Hub, Global Teleltherapy’s blog page, during this time will be devoted exclusively to content that will offer inspiration and practical guidance to help quell the increased anxiety that everyone is feeling through the spread of this pandemic.