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What’s It Like To Be Back At School In 2021?

Kruti Beesam
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What will return to school with children? A question that bothers parents and teachers alike. Returning to school will not be the same anymore. At a global level, 105 of 134 countries have decided to resume classroom learning for their students. This makes up 78% of schools. Of the 105 schools, 59 have already returned to school or will do so soon.  Children will no longer experience school like it was before the pandemic. Before children switch back to classroom learning, there are many structural and functional changes a school will have to undergo. Here’s a broad idea of how things will be as students return to school.

Need To Return To School
One may ask what the necessity for children to return to school is. Experts have an answer to this too. They say that the child’s capacity to learn is slightly hampered. The longer children are away from school the harder it is for them to return to school. It is observed that longer absence from school increases instances of child labour, child abuse, child marriage and teenage pregnancy. The chances of children dropping out of school also increase with longer absence from a physical classroom. Experts confirm that occurrences of all these issues are greater among lower-income groups. Now that the need to return to school is established there are other things to be noted. What will return to school along with children? What are the obstacles that kids will have to face? Let’s find out.

Child Safety Guaranteed On Return To School?
The primary concern about children’s return to school is their safety. To achieve this, schools have to change some of their structural and functional aspects to fit the needs of the new world. Schools will have to have new aids that will assist students in staying safe and clean. A lot of planning will go into making the building ready before students return to school. To start with, the opening and closing time of schools should be staggered. Meal time must be staggered. Schools must look for opportunities to move classes outdoors or in open spaces. After years of learning and teaching within closed walls, schools have to restructure classrooms. Even after all this, can a school discipline a large number of children into maintaining a distance from each other?

Parents Concern As Students Return To School

Along with children returning to school, a lot of questions return to parents’ minds. All regarding the school’s readiness to welcome children back. What steps are taken to make the school ready for children? Is the school equipped to deal with the stigma of sick/recovered children may face? How can parents involve themselves in taking safety measures? These are some questions parents might want to ask the school’s management or staff. Make sure you get all satisfactory answers before you send your child back to school.

Catching Up With Academics 

Many students have adapted well to the transition from the classroom to online learning. However, there may be a few who have not been able to keep up with the changes. On returning to school, such kids may need hand-holding. Maybe a little more than the others. It would be beneficial to begin the academic year with a refresher class. A remedial class or an after-school lecture can be useful for slow learners in the class.

Struggle With Returning To School Mode

After days of a disrupted routine and lazy learning, it may be difficult for children to get back to the ‘school mode.’ This should be expected and dealt with cleverly. A child’s response to stress is different from that of an adult. Knowing this is key when preparing to send your child back to school. The thought of going to school may be stressful for your child. Start preparing early. Set a routine at least one week before school reopens. This will give your child some time to get adjusted. Responding positively to their concerns helps a lot in calming them down. Another way of helping your kid transition is to connect with other parents. Often, brainstorming with people in the same situations brings a lot more options to your table.

Checklist As Students Return To School

A return to school takes a lot of effort from parents, teachers and students. So far we have understood what parents and the school can do. Let us now have a look at how students can take responsibility for schooling during the pandemic. They must learn to protect themselves and others from the contagious virus. This is possible only when adults break down information about the pandemic to a child’s understanding. They must know the importance of not touching their nose, eyes, mouth or face with their bare and unclean hands. They must rise to the level of explaining safety measures to peers. It is important for children to keep themselves safe along with others around them. Before they return to school, they must know that sharing food and water is not safe anymore. It might be contrary to their fundamental lesson of sharing but it must be carefully explained. Teach them to sneeze and cough into the elbow by example.

The stigma of the disease affects children more severely than adults. As they return to school, teach kids to treat sick children well while staying away. Remember to teach them to be careful and sensitive at the same time.

A return to school is definitely going to be tough. But with a few precautions in mind and some sensitivity, it can be done. Some mindfulness can make the transition smooth for parents, teachers and students.

Kruti Beesam
Kruti Beesam

Kruti enjoys blogging and listening to music. She actively tries to sensitise people towards disabilities and create awareness about the need for wheelchair friendly infrastructure. Being a foodie, Kruti looks forward to meeting new people and sharing a good meal with them.

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