ARCADIA, Calif. – Students who are distant learning need social and emotional support now more than ever, but being away from campus means being away from the school counselor. 

Kamerin Bateman is the only counselor for all 700 students at Holly Avenue Elementary School in Arcadia. She’s now tasked with finding new ways to connect with her students. 

What You Need To Know

  • Pandemic forcing school counselor at Holly Avenue Elementary School to find new ways to connect with students

  • Through her virtual office, she's created an online space to meet with students

“I can’t imagine being 8-years-old and feeling nervous and overwhelmed and it’s hard for them to wrap their heads around everything going on in the world,” Bateman said. “I want them to understand you’re not alone.”

Her students usually share their feelings in her office. Now her office is virtual. She’s created an online space to have lunch together, practice mindfulness exercises, and listen to uplifting stories.

She’s also available between classes for anyone who needs her.

“I started doing morning afternoon counselor chats and afternoon counselor chats, and it’s me sitting on this side of my computer and they can just pop in and talk to me about anything that they feel like they need to,” Bateman said.

Second-grader Caroline Woolcott talks to her about really missing her friends. Having time to be listened to and to be heard is helping. 

“Well I just like talking with her and I don’t really have the reason for it,” Woolcott said. “I just feel like talking.”

Until her students are able to walk the halls again, Ms. Bateman will keep finding ways to connect.

“I struggled with it at first because they are online so much, did I want them behind a camera again on their computer during their lunch break?” Bateman said. “But I figured this is what it is and it’s how I’m going to be able to reach them and make those connections.”

She’s connecting virtually to remind them even though they’re distant, they aren’t alone.