With the start of a new school year, a lot needs to happen so that students can learn and thrive without raising the risk of spreading COVID-19. The goal of having children attend school in person–which is how they learn best–will only be safe when a community has the spread of the virus under control. And then, when it is possible to reopen a school for in-person learning, a layered approach is needed to keep students, teachers and staff safe.
Not all children will have had the same experience during the pandemic. When they return to school or start online classes, circumstances will change—again. Here are her tips for parents helping kids make the transition back to school in whatever form that takes:
- Embrace the ambiguity. You might not be able to be as concrete about the future as they would like, but they can model how they react in flexibility, empathy, and relinquishing control.
- Emotionally prepare. Endeavour to talk with your children about their feelings about school, and start preparing them. Talking about their feelings can help children prepare mentally, and you might be able to identify circumstances to helpyour kids prepare.
- Learn the rules, and help children learn them. You can start preparing their children for new rules by learning about them, and repeating them to help kids feel confident and capable.
- Teach them the relevant hygiene practises. Children should follow the same principles as adults for wearing masks. This includes cleaning hands at least 20 seconds if using an alcohol-based hand rub, or at least 40 seconds if using soap and water, before putting on the mask.
Make sure the mask is the right size to cover the nose, mouth and chin. Children should be taught how to wear the mask properly, including not touching the front of the mask and not pulling it under the chin or into their mouth. They should store the mask in a bag or container, and not share the mask with others.