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Making new friends during a pandemic can be almost impossible for kids. But school staff are finding creative ways to help. – News – providencejournal.com

Making new friends during a pandemic can be almost impossible for kids. But school staff are finding creative ways to help. – News – providencejournal.com

It was a tough day for a 6-year-old. And her mom. Imagine being a first grader in a new school and unable to participate in “Best Friends” day.

Nikki Bourgeois went on Facebook not to complain but to share what it was like for her daughter Mackenna, a brand new Somerset, trying to make friends in remote-learning mode.

“Makenna didn’t have anyone that she could talk about. It was a bit heartbreaking,” Nikki wrote in the post on Oct. 2. “We don’t know anyone in the area, and without her being physically in school, she isn’t able to meet any friends. We have been told that there are kids in the neighborhood that are her age, but we have yet to meet anyone. COVID-19 didn’t help either.”

The social and psychological needs for some students have become a challenge to meet in this COVID-fear-wracked world. Making friendships online doesn’t compare to old-school in-school, face-to-face socializing. And even in the on-site half of hybrid learning, masks and social distancing can reduce the ability of an elementary school age child to make friends, something that is critical for the pre-K through grade 5 set.

Schools and teachers know better than most about this 2020 challenge. And they’re taking action.

Susan Darmody of Westport is a second-grade teacher at the Silvia Elementary School on Meridian Street in Fall River. She’s starting this school year teaching in full remote. Silvia has a mix of remote and hybrid students.

“Tougher for the remote kids,” Darmody said in a text message to The Herald News. “Hybrid kids do a lot of activities with their teachers using social distance in the classroom. Games and outside doing mask breaks. But (the children) are so happy to be in school.

“A few ways we help make the kids feel

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