Preparing for the school year during a pandemic

By Sarah Wylde

That time of year is on its way. For some, it has already begun, back to school time. Usually, this can be an exciting time getting ready to see friends again, school shopping, getting back to school outfits, and even packing to go off to college or university. But this year, it is clearly going to be different. This year we are getting ready to go back to school during a pandemic.

Each country/state/province has its own returning to school plans in place. Some of them have the people concerned, as they should be, about reopening schools in the fall. I can only speak about where I live. The younger grades are opening the schools, and having smaller class sizes and safety precautions in place that they are beginning to reveal this week. The community college that is where I live is going to be doing blended learning, some classes are going to be online, and a few will be on campus. I have heard from in-person and with watching the news that parents, students, and teachers are all conflicted with returning to the classrooms. Some feel like it is forced and misguided. We keep hearing about a second wave of the Corona Virus that will happen in fall. Plus, fall is also when cold and flu season tends to start. But I digress, I am not here to discuss the politics of the matter.

For myself, any courses I am taking are going to be all online. I also do my freelance work from home and work at an office seasonal for four months. All this got me thinking about what I am doing to get ready to go back to school and those who are going back physically. Here a few things to think of and possibly even implement in your pandemic back to school to-do lists.

  • Ultimately, whatever choice you make, do what is right for you and your family.
  • Ask questions!
  • Talk to the school and teachers to see what the classroom will look like and what they are doing for staff and student safety.
  • Do your research!
  • Still, have fun and enjoy getting school supplies, clothes, and more.
  • If your child or someone in your home is at high risk, it is alright to consider keeping them home. Do what is right for you and your family.
  • Talk to your kids about what is happening. This is a significant change for them as well. Obviously, do not scare them, but be honest about the situation. Ask them what questions they have and the worries/emotions they are feeling.
  • Some schools are making it mandatory for students to wear masks. Talk to them and practice it. If they find it hard to breathe with the mask, possibly take them to see a health-care provider for suggestions.
  • Talk to them about social distancing and show them a video like this one here.
  • Talk to them about the proper way to wash their hands and show a video like this one here.

Another helpful routine builder is having a schedule like the one below up for everyone in the house to see and understand. Here is an example of one, for if you are going to school in person, it will be followed by one for online learning.

7 a.m. Get up, breakfast

8 a.m. Leave to go to school

8:40 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. School

3:45 p.m. Home from school, wash hands, talk about the day

4 p.m. Homework

5:15 p.m. Supper

6 – 8 p.m. Free time

9:30 p.m. Lights out

Online learning

7 a.m. Get up, have coffee and breakfast

8 a.m. Read

9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Online classes

4:15 p.m. – 6 p.m. Homework

6:30 p.m. Supper

7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Homework

9:15 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Free time

11 p.m. Lights out

These can be done to accommodate schedules and appointments in the family.

Until next time, stay safe and take care of yourselves.

Sarah Wylde