Published on July 15, 2021

Teachers desk

Preparing for Back to School: Navigating the Return to In-Person Learning

COVID-19 hasn’t been easy for anyone, but it has been especially hard on families with children.

This fall, most school districts are planning on returning to in-person schooling. Returning to the classroom may be difficult for those that have been learning virtually for over a year, making it stressful not only for parents, but the entire family. Students that have been in a hybrid situation for school might also struggle with going back to campus full time.

While it may be difficult in the beginning, returning to school will benefit children of all ages. Jimmy Venza, Ph.D., executive director at The Lourie Center for Children’s Social & Emotional Wellness explains, “Children benefit from social interactions with other children for their overall health and well-being.”

He suggests preparing your child to return to school by:

  • Discussing going to school for a full day
  • Attending summer camps or having playdates with friends
  • Starting a school routine a few weeks before school starts
  • Addressing their concerns

While many students will be excited to return to school and see their friends, they can still be apprehensive. Younger children might experience separation anxiety from their parents while older children may fear getting sick. Reassure your child that going to school will be fun and they will enjoy being with their friends and meeting their teachers. If your school offers orientation, attending can also help alleviate concerns you or your child has.

As a parent, help ease your concerns by:

  • Understanding your schools COVID-19 policies
  • Vaccinating your child if eligible
  • Reviewing ways to stay healthy with your child

Heading back to school this fall will likely pose some challenges, but you can begin preparing now and be ready for whatever comes your way.

Get Ready for Back to School with these Safety Tips

  • Don’t send children to school if they are feeling sick.
  • Start practicing with kids who may need to wear face masks all day.
  • Talk with kids about what to expect at school and how it will be different from before. One idea for the discussion is to play a “what’s the same” and “what’s different” naming game.
  • Know your school’s COVID-19 policies.
  • Continue to encourage frequent hand washing.
  • Have a plan in case of a COVID-19 exposure.

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