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Planning for healing in Oxford stretches as much as a year out

OXFORD, MI (WXYZ) – Oxford School officials continue to plan for the school’s reopening after the holidays and are already advising students, teachers and staff.

Teachers will act as advisors when students return.

Dr. Gerald Shiner is a psychiatrist and says that the school’s focus on students will include, “an ongoing program of trying to resolve all the fear and terror that these children must have experienced and all the anger that might cover these fears when children would normally do.”

Oxford Chancellor Steve Wolfe told students and families this week in an online message, “We really miss you and can’t wait to see you soon.”

The message also said, “It has been helpful to share stories, cry together, hug and be together.”

The district schedules students to come in and pick up their belongings. Provide meals as needed to students and families.

Counselors remain available across the region to intervene as needed to assist the 1,800 students, teachers and school staff.

The National Association of School Psychologists has an online plan to help schools during this type of crisis that includes advice on providing safe spaces for counseling including bringing trailers on school grounds, if necessary, and phasing out back to school.

Dr. Shiner says counseling for teachers and staff will include, “helping them talk about their own feelings and what their own experience has been and debriefing from the trauma of being in school when this happened.” and teachers and staff who work with students, “What kind of questions to ask about how to listen without interfering with how not to give advice, or not to underestimate feedback.”

For now, the crisis is still there. The shock continues. “It’s going to take a year on the first Christmas break, the first day back to school, the first final exam, the first homecoming day,” says Dr. Shiner. “Every time you go through a historical stage, you’ll be reminded of who’s not there and what happened to how it’s different.”

Some areas that have gone through this designate a so-called recovery coordinator.

The Oxford plan is still under development.

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