PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

2020Talks

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - September 23, 2020 


U.S. COVID-19 deaths double in last 4 months as total tops 200,000; poll workers in short supply as Texas registers a record number of voters.


2020Talks - September 22, 2020 


It's National Voter Registration Day. Plus, the Supreme Court and the nation's abortion debate are back in the election spotlight.

Parents Seek Ways to Confront Uncertainty as Schools Reopen

Classes in Boise will be held virtually for at least the first three weeks of the new school year. (Mariia Korneeva/Adobe Stock)
Classes in Boise will be held virtually for at least the first three weeks of the new school year. (Mariia Korneeva/Adobe Stock)
August 12, 2020

BOISE, Idaho -- Working parents face tough decisions as the school year starts, including who will care for their children while they attend school virtually.

Taryn Yates, grant manager for the Idaho Children's Trust Fund, has a 5-year-old entering kindergarten next week in Boise, where schools are holding classes online for at least the first three weeks. She's still not sure who will be watching her son, and said it's the uncertainty that's most stressful. Yates pointed out that humans are designed to react to threats in short bursts, not prolonged dangers.

"It's just like you're always on guard," she said, "and that's actually just having a constantly triggered stress system that really just creates a wear-and-tear effect on your body, over time."

Many factors contribute to this constant state of stress, she said, including access to safe child care during the pandemic and the threat from coronavirus itself.

Yates said most humans have a negativity bias -- walking in the woods, for instance; if we hear a noise, we assume it's a predator. She said that response was useful thousands of years ago, but doesn't serve modern humans very well. Yates said people can push back against that bias and "hack" their brains to think more positively -- which strengthens an "optimism bias."

"Well, what if everyone's OK? What's that going to look like -- if, every single path in front of me, everyone ends up OK? And just really doing these mental exercises with yourself, to challenge that negativity bias and calm your brain down," she said.

Talking to friends and using tactics such as journaling can help confront this bias, as well, she said. These are important ways to relieve stress now, she said, but parents will need bigger, more sustainable solutions to stay afloat going forward.

"In the long run," she said, "it's really going to take investment from our local and state governments and federal government to 'prop up' people with children so that we can all thrive."

Disclosure: Idaho Children's Trust Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Early Childhood Education, Family/Father Issues, Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID