Age of Awareness
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Age of Awareness

Millions Will Be Out of School: What Does that Really Mean?

Our world is turning upside down. Students normally in school will be out of school. Those in school may be learning remotely. Mundane items normally on store shelves will be missing. People who work in offices normally, at least some of them, will be working remotely and not by choice. Individuals who normally like going shopping won’t be visiting their favorite places. And, speaking of visiting, people will not be visiting theaters, restaurants, movies and each other. Visitors will be barred from hospitals and nursing homes, not ideal on many levels for those ill and those who want to see their ill family members. In short, in a short time people, the world as we know will change.

At least for some period of time, what is normal will become abnormal and what is abnormal will be the norm.

If other countries are any indicator, things in the US will get worse before they get better. We will likely see more illnesses, more quarantines, more school closings. And school closings — whether preschools or colleges — have profound impacts on everyone from students to teachers to parents/guardians to communities.

I am writing a piece for University Business on the impacts of colleges’ closing or moving to online and what that will mean fiscally, physically and psychologically for institutions and individuals. Watch for it. And, I have a forthcoming book called Trauma Doesn’t Stop at the School Door (Teachers College Press June 2020). It focuses on how to move forward in a world of trauma, a topic sorely needed at present. (It can be pre-ordered at The site describes the book and provides some reviews too.) I’ll be doing a radio show on Stars and Stripes on this topic too on March 23 at 10:00 a.m. est.

Here’s something to reflect upon as we learn to exist in this topsy turvy world of ours: What can and should we do to deal effectively with the new normal and what strategies can we deploy to help our children — so they don’t emerge traumatized?

The answer rests, I suspect, in thinking through and then articulating quite concretely how we can all be more trauma-responsive (not just trauma aware or informed or sensitive). That is the subject of my new book and the piece in University Business and the radio show. Who knew that the strategies developed for other contexts would be so needed in our day-to-day existence?

In the meanwhile, take care, stay healthy and watch for the new piece and the book and radio show. I think they will all help us.



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Karen Gross

Karen Gross


Author, Educator & Commentator; Former President, Southern Vermont College; Former Senior Policy Advisor, US Dept. of Education; Former Law Professor