With last year’s school year leaving off on the stressful foot of online teaching, many schools have opted to return to online teaching this year. While the case for some, this is not the case for other schools who have decided to return to education regularly in-person schedule with measures to hopefully decrease the risk for the spread of the COVID-19 virus. While many schools have reduced class sizes, spread out desks, implemented the mandatory use of masks while in class, some schools have even taken to having school “shifts” to help quell the spread. But many schools are still being forced to close amidst this post-pandemic world. 

Implementing both water and hygiene facilities has become a crucial part of the reopening of schools safely. Administrators need to look at what opportunities they have to improve the school’s hygiene measures. This includes things such as including things like proper handwashing measures, respiratory etiquette such as sneezing and coughing into your elbow, physical distancing measures, cleaning procedures for facilities, and safe food preparation. 

What Should Parents Be Asking Teachers or School Officials?

Many parents may even wonder, “what should I be asking school officials and teachers as we prepare to go back into this school year?” What should parents be doing to help their child be as prepared as possible when returning to school, whether virtual learning from home or in-person teaching if unable to stay home due to parents working?

  • Has the school taken the proper steps for students to return safely? 
    • What steps have they taken?
  • How will the school support students that have learning disabilities that have issues leaning in a virtual setting?
  • How will schools aid in supporting students’ mental health and combat the stigma of others being sick?
  • Will there be a safeguard measure put in place for schools and bullying policy changes as schools reopen, especially for those who are virtual learning this year?
  • How can the parents help support health and safety measures through parent-teacher communities or other networks and outlets?

Helping a Child Who May Have Fallen Behind?

During these difficult times, the students have persevered when it comes to their studies. Under these difficult circumstances, those same students have dove headfirst into tackling this challenging year with the help of their parents and teachers. For some children, however, there may come a time they find themselves falling behind due to the difficulties of virtual learning. The school should have a plan on how to best combat this issue of falling behind. 

Some schools have made plans to select “catch up” sessions to help those who need to be caught up to speed. Some are implemented blending learning models where some students will have access to have some in-person learning, while the other portion is learned online. 

Schools need to be prepared for each learning style that accompanies every student and understands that not one student learns the complete and total same way. 

This year for many, will be stressful. But making sure that you are aiding your child in every way possible will help them feel reassured that they will make it through and one day returns to everyday classroom learning. 

 

Dr. Catherine Barnes is a Jacksonville, Florida-based educator with over 25 years of experience. A graduate of the University of Florida, Dr. Barnes forms her educational philosophy around the belief that “kids deserve a fighting chance—even if you have to fight to give it to them.” She understands that, by adapting to modern students’ needs, today’s teachers can change the trajectory of a child’s life, and has allowed her to continuously embody success and vision in her field.