Ocean County Health Department begins workshops to discuss lasting emotional effects of pandemic on kids

January's COVID-19 numbers in New Jersey took a dramatic swing and continue to head in the right direction, and now, the Ocean County Health Department is focusing on the well-being of the younger population. 
It's not so much the physical effects of COVID-19 on kids, it's the mental aspect health experts say could now affect the children for decades to come. 
“I think there's going to be a lot of unintended consequences from all the lockdowns and the protective measures we put in place,” says Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Dan Regenye. “Kids have really taken a hard hit with some of this a lot of mental health issues, a lot of social anxiety, a lot of cognitive issues."
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The Ocean County Health Department and school district leaders will discuss in the next few weeks how best to handle the lasting emotional effects of the pandemic in a series of comprehensive workshops.
“There is a lot of issues going on with some of these kids,” says Regenye. “Some of these kids the youngest of ages, they don't know anything different - the masks and social distancing, plexiglass ... all that's normal for the kids kindergarteners, first and second graders.”
One of those steps includes reclassifying COVID-19. 
“I think we are at where we really should be called as an endemic built into our normal workflow,” says Regenye. “Everything that you've been seeing, we've had these conversations in the last two years these are not new terms to us."
Health experts begin the workshops today with at least five different school districts to develop plans to help children better cope with what they've endured over the last two years.