The classroom is more than just a place for learning and academics. It’s a place where students develop important social and emotional skills as they learn to get along with others. Schools also provide adolescents with exercise and healthy meals that they may not get at home. For most families, a classroom is a safe place for their children to be while mom and dad are away at work. Not to mention that their friends look forward to seeing them there every day. Let’s talk about back to school: the new normal.
Back to School: The New Normal
With Covid-19 arriving at the tail end of the last school year, while throwing confusion and learning in a blender, many of us didn’t expect the situation to continue into this school year. But, here we are 6 months later, still dealing with the ongoing pandemic. Many schools have made the decision that it’s safe for their students to return to the classroom, while others have decided to continue with online learning. This may be a little of what that may look like. Here’s everything about back to school and the new normal.
A Return to the Classroom
Whether you agree with it or not about your child returning back to the classroom, thousands of schools across the country are about to start back up, while several already have. With the new rules and guidelines for everyone to follow, it’s certainly going to be a school year unlike any other, with health and safety the number one priority.
Learning will certainly have its challenges for students, while teachers are faced with the demanding task to ensure that Covid-19 does not spread within their school. In case you missed this post, Back To School Backpack Survival Kit
Depending on where you live, many districts have made the decision to continue with the online learning that kicked off in the earlier part of spring this year. Some students did really well with it, while many students began to fall behind. Especially lower-income families that didn’t have the resources and the time to make sure that their children were getting their schoolwork done on time.
Social distancing is the number one priority for schools to keep everyone safe and healthy. Students and teachers are required to keep a minimum of 6 feet apart to avoid close contact. Desks will be placed at least 3 feet apart in most schools.
- Depending on what school your student is attending, your child may be required to wear their face covering even while at their desk, while for others, it may be deemed a safe place where your child can take it off for a brief period of time.
- Teachers will also see to it that students wash and sanitize their hands regularly, and have them sanitize their desk areas when they’re finished. Washing their hands should be with warm water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- Several activities such as music class, gym, band, and orchestra can be done in a safer environment, such as outside and spread out in larger rooms.
When it comes to changing classrooms and limiting interaction, many schools are requiring the teachers to change classrooms, rather than the students.
What about Crowded Places?
There’s no denying it. At certain points throughout the school day, your child may be in a crowded place, whether it’s riding on the bus, walking down the hallway, or playing out on the playground. School districts are facing this problem head-on. Here’s what you can expect.
When your child is riding the school bus with other students, they will be required to wear a face mask or cover at all times. Assigned seating will be put in place not only for elementary students but for middle school and high school students as well. Schools are also encouraging parents to take their children to school if that’s an option, to cut down on the risk of exposure.
You may have noticed at certain grocery stores and businesses that you’ve visited lately there are direction arrows on the floor. School hallways and stairs may be marked with arrows to cut down on and influence hallway traffic. Students may even be required to walk in single-file lines. Many schools are making the decision to not use lockers at this point, and if they are, to assign lockers by group.
Instead of eating their lunches in the lunchroom, some schools are having students eat their lunches in the classroom, or outside in small groups.
Teachers have been advised to allow students to play on the playground, but only in smaller groups and in certain locations on a particular day. Schools will also see to it that the equipment is being cleaned properly and on a regular schedule.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Schools have been required by the CDC to follow certain cleaning and disinfecting guidelines to keep students and teachers more safe. It won’t be uncommon for your student to see a large supply of disinfectants and other cleaners in the classroom and they may be encouraged to clean their study and work areas several times each day.
Students at Greater Risk
With the new policies that your children’s school has in place, the risk of Covid-19 will be considerably reduced, but not completely preventable. Students who have medical conditions are at greater risk and may need other accommodations to keep them safe. If your child fits this description, talk with your pediatrician and the school nurse to come up with other safety precautions to keep your child as safe as possible.
Symptoms at School
Schools are not required to test students and faculty for COVID, so as a parent, it’s important for you to pay closer attention to your child. Parents are advised that if their children are experiencing symptoms of COVID, or a fever of over 100.4 degrees, that their child needs to stay home. But if a child is not feeling well or has symptoms that show up while they’re at school, there needs to be a designated space where the student can be isolated from others.
The “new normal” for your child at school will feel anything other than normal for a period of time, but children are resilient. They’re more adaptable to change than we as adults are. Take the time to sit down with your son or daughter and go over the school’s new policies that are in place for this school year, which ensures everyone’s health and safety.
With students, teachers, and other faculty members cooperating, the school will continue to be one of the safest places for children to be. What does your back to school: the new normal look like? Please keep prepping, we must. May God bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: School Bus Deposit photos_30815591_s-2019, School Supplies Deposit photos_107964004_s-2019