(KERO) — The Department of Education is trying to help students and teachers get back to the classroom safely this fall with a new "return to school roadmap."
It lays out strategies for how to implement the Center for Disease Control's updated mask recommendations.
It provides guidance in three key areas: health and safety, academic achievement, and mental health.
Even before the pandemic mental health experts say social media use was influencing feelings of isolation, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts in kids.
"So we can only expect that after what a year and a half, over a year, of sitting behind screens being at home more, that there's going to be some more of these unhealthy mental health situations," said Tessa Stuckey, a licensed professional counselor.
Health officials say it's an important time for parents and teachers to pay attention to warning signs, including feeling so overwhelmed that assignments aren’t getting done.
Teens could also experience depressive thoughts, the inability to find joy, and turning to their phones as a way to cope in uncomfortable situations.