Back to school for 2020/2021 is not going to be as straight forward as last year.

We have a whole new vocabulary to start with – bubbles, pods, contact tracing, risk assessments. Back to school is usually an exciting time for kids, albeit not without some amount of fear of the unknown, but this year is different. We have never faced a return to school like this before and it is going to throw up challenges.

But we are a resilient people and we will find a way to make going back to school work.   We must accept that some things will be the same and others will be different. Lamenting about the past is not going to alter our present reality. So, we need to accept the current changes. I am not saying that everything will be perfect. It won’t. Mistakes will be made, and as a result policies & procedures altered for the better.

Some children (and/or their parents and grandparents) will be anxious about going back to school. This is natural and we need to acknowledge that fear and talk it through with them. There are lots of things that are out of our control when the schools reopen. The key is to focus on what we can control.  We can control our behaviours. So, we practice physical distancing, stop touching our faces, apply coughing and sneezing etiquette and most importantly, wash our hands properly and frequently.

School children are excellent teachers! Once they are on board with something, they will nag us parents into submission! Involve your kids in creating their own back to school ‘Corona Kit’. This will create a sense of control. Include hand sanitiser, tissues, face masks, hand lotion.

Get them to think through their day and how they can maximise their safety while minimising their lifestyle changes.  This is especially important with teenagers. Get them to think through how they can deal with someone who is not following protocol, how to deal with a sudden school shutdown or if a pal announces that they are not feeling well.

Remind them that some teachers may be on edge too and they need to be given leeway.  They may be overly strict and cross. Teachers will have a lot to deal with in the coming weeks.  They must work in a new environment, they will have to be prepared to go back online if the school shuts and the Leaving Cert and Junior Cycle results will be out.  Given the chaos that resulted from the UK’s exam results, it is reasonable to expect a backlash here too and this will be a stressful time for teachers.

So, by being in control of what we can control, and being flexible around the changes that this virus is bringing to the new school year, we can embrace going back to school in our new normal.

Hummingbird Learning Centre is reopening to face to face appointments from Monday 24th of August, both in Adare and Tralee. To learn more about how Hummingbird Learning Centre can help with the study skills needed for blended learning, contact Elaine on 087-2996054 or through their website

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