Children have been learning online for over a year now! Remodeling students’ habits to adapt to online learning has proven to be a complex process for educators, students, and parents.
Students are starting to return to the brick-and-mortar school setting. But not all parents are rushing to send their kids back to school. This is because schools and parents are equally concerned about the following factors:
- Whether the number of cases in the area low enough for the schools to reopen.
- The school’s support of mask use, regular fumigation, and physical distancing.
- Setting up hand washing stations and hand sanitizer availability throughout the school
- The availability of a proper Electronic Health Record for school to ensure efficient COVID 19 tracking.
- A proper school nurse health system to support school nurses to contact trace, test, and quarantine students/teachers who have been exposed to the virus.
A recent online survey conducted on 1000 respondents in the United States yielded the following result:
So should your ward go to school and risk infection or should they stay home?
Which brings to the important question of factors to think about while deciding to send children to school.
Questions to answer before sending children to school
There is no such thing as zero risks in the things we do, especially during an epidemic. There is no ‘one size fits all’ answers for questions to be considered before sending children back to school. However, the following set of selected questions can guide parents and schools as to whether or not their ward should be sent to school:
Would sending your child to school affect their mental health?
Surprisingly despite the apprehensions, sending kids back to school is predicted to have a positive impact on students’ mental health. Students are longing to socially interact with their friends and this is essential for their mental wellness. Perhaps children feel they’re stuck in the home environment with no one else to interact with. Therefore, if your kids’ mental health is bothering you, then consider sending them back to school.
Will your children fall behind if you choose to keep them at home?
Don’t worry about it! The whole world is going through similar chaotic situations. Before the classes resume, the authorities will change the class programs to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This is a surety that your kids will be ready to leap ahead no matter what.
Is a classroom setting going to improve your child’s learning?
On reopening, schools will impose a dozen protocols. This might not make returning to school pleasant for students. Some educators are even skeptical about whether classroom settings would be the best option for your child’s learning, while some others remarked that in-person learning is good for students even during these days.
The opinion of having in-person learning by certain educators has been proven right by a recent survey. The survey showed that the majority of the students were feeling ‘bored’ and ‘unmotivated’ by online classes. However, on asking about returning to the class setting, students had mixed but mostly positive reactions. So, whether classroom setting can improve child’s learning is purely parents’ call.
How to prepare your kids mentally after school recommences?
Parents are trying to prepare their kids for school reopening and speculate the challenges they would face. For those who are concerned about how to prepare their kids mentally after school recommences, here are some recommendations:
Plan in advance
Instill confidence in your kids through planning as a family. Educate your kids regarding what to expect at school, and the precautionary measures they should take. If there are higher-risk family members, tell your child the extra caution they should exercise.
Incidents of slip-ups like a mask falling off/falling on the ground, forgetting to wash/sanitize hands are expected. Such mistakes can trigger anxiety in kids. Prep them in advance- give extra masks, sanitizers, and wipes- so that worries won’t take over their coherent thought processes.
Talk to your children about their emotions like: What are their fears? What are they most excited about? Boost confidence in your kids, give them space to synthesize their rational thoughts, and most importantly ask them not to hold anything in, but share what is on their mind with family. Make sure that there’s a dedicated space in your family to freely communicate your kids’ feelings.
Kids are going back to school after a big transition and kids might be anxious about getting sick. Make them practice positive thoughts and talk to themselves with confidence. Make your kids practice breathing exercises if they encounter panic attacks at school. When parents are not around, such stress-busting practices are going to instill a lot of confidence in kids.
Ensure mental health
Kids and teens have high rates of anxiety caused by the pandemic. These periods of isolation have affected their mental health. Parents should proactively check their children’s mental well-being. Watch out for signs like sleeping difficulties, mood swings, self-isolation, lack of motivation, and safety concerns. Reassure that what your child is feeling is a normal reaction to what has been going around. When you feel that your kids need therapy or counseling, do not hesitate to consult a therapist or counselor.
Don’t expect overnight changes
Did your kids’ grades drop during the pandemic or have a non-existent social life? Expect such things not to change overnight. It takes time to fit in back to the school and societal settings. Set realistic outlooks and it will surely take some time for parents and kids to get into the new groove.
Stay flexible and consistent
Parents and students should be ready to face any adverse events that might lead the schools to closure again. Schools might continually change their protocols, so be ready to roll with the punches. Stay positive to change and mentally flexible because it will take time for everything to fall back in place.
Parents should stay on top of what is happening at school and communicate with school nurses to see their kids getting the best medical support. As for school nurses, their schedules are going to be hectic once the kids are back to school. This difficulty in managing their activities can be managed by Electronic Health Records for schools like EduHealth.
What schools can do on resuming?
Schools have lots of medical data to process especially when kids are returning to school amidst a global pandemic. School nurses have lots of student tracking to do to ensure that the children are kept safe from getting infected. A school nurse health system with a COVID 19 tracking dashboard can reduce the burden on school nurses during this phase.
While parents and students take all the precautions before school reopens, school authorities also have equal responsibilities in equipping themselves to face any likely adverse events.