Back to school for 2021/2022 is a lot more straightforward than last year.
Words such as bubbles, pods, contact tracing, risk assessments, vaccinations are now part of our everyday vocabulary.
Going back to school is usually an exciting time, albeit not without some amount of fear of the unknown. This year we are still dealing with a pandemic that we thought would have been contained by now. However, we now have vaccines and while this has allowed the country to start reopening, going back to school continues to throw up challenges.
Accepting that some things will be the same as last year but that we will probably have to continue to adapt to the changing environment will make life a lot easier. 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 students 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 shut down or if a pal announces that they are not feeling well.
Being vaccinated is a personal choice. Some students and teachers may choose not to be vaccinated. Whatever our opinion on vaccines is, we must ensure that people’s choices are respected. No one should be harassed or bullied because they chose to have or not have the vaccine.
Remind students that some teachers may be anxious returning to the classroom 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 challenging environment. They will have to be prepared to go back to teaching online if the school shuts.
By being in control of what we can control, and being flexible around the changes that this virus continues to bring, we can embrace going back to school for 2021/2022.
To learn more about how Hummingbird Learning Centre can help with the study skills needed for second and third-level, contact Elaine on 087-2996054 or through their website www.hummingbirdlearning.com