GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — During Friday’s roundtable discussion on education, a course offered to teachers, not students, was praised as a helpful tool to tackle anxiety in the new school year.

“We have to know that stress is contagious,” said Marc Brackett, Founder and Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. “A stressed-out teacher or educator is a stressed classroom and it’s also just harmful to our well being.”

That anxiety may be amplified during this pandemic as schools prepare to reopen this fall. 

Governor Ned Lamont led off the round table discussion about a new Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence course which could help teachers better cope with stress.

“What we know from our research is that you can teach people effective responses to their stress,” said Brackett. “We can help people deactivate. We can help them engage in more positive thinking.”

The 10-week course is for school staff but is expected to benefit students as well.

“We definitely know as educators if our students don’t have the coping strategies to deal with their emotional trauma they will not be available for academic learning in the classroom,” said Erin Daly, a Third Grade teacher in the Danbury Public Schools system.

“Allowing kids to be seen to be heard and for them to express what they need. So we’re not going shhh you can’t talk now we have to prep for mastery,” said Tom Nicholas, Vice President of the Connecticut Education Association.

Dalio Education Initiative is providing the funding for this Social and Emotional Learning.

“This is really a dream come true to be able to help the teachers,” said Barbara Dalio, Founder and Director of Dalio Education Initiative.

Connecticut is the first state to implement this social and emotional learning. The course is not only offered to teachers, but paraprofessionals, and other school-based staff. All of whom could have interactions with students.

“I imagine that doing this all the things that we always try to evaluate are going to go up. We’re going to have less absenteeism,” said Jason Adler, School Counselor at Waterford High School. “We’re going to have higher test scores.”

High marks and high hopes as the new school year is about to begin. 

“Making sure that the teachers are equipped to do everything they can to deal with the entire kid, the full kid, the kid with all that complexity to make sure they’re the best that they can be,” said Governor Lamont.