“One of the lessons the pandemic has taught us is that we can never predict what will happen next with this virus. “
This editorial is the opinion of Morgan Hill Life
The first day of school often comes with its own set of anxieties without adding the life or death threat of a global pandemic. Many students in Morgan Hill’s public schools will be returning to classrooms for their first day of instruction Aug. 18. They, their parents/guardians, teachers and school staff will need to adjust to a “new normal” in terms of the education environment.
The past year has been difficult for young people who were forced by COVID-19 to learn away from campuses, often without adequate technology needed for online education. Adjusting back to in-person education will also be challenging for many. The re-opening of classrooms will require schools and families to work together even more than before.
The Morgan Hill Unified School District will be closely monitoring the spread of the Delta variant now endangering lives throughout the United States and take action such as social distancing, mask-wearing and hand sanitation to limit the transmission of this COVID-19 virus.
Teachers and staff can teach and encourage preventive behaviors at school. These include washing or sanitizing hands, social-distancing and wearing masks when appropriate.
Likewise, families will need to emphasize and model healthy behaviors at home and empower students to adjust to changes this school year. One of the lessons the pandemic has taught us is that we can never predict what will happen next with this virus. We’re seeing a dangerous rise in the Delta variant throughout the nation. Experts say this is caused by people who, for whatever reason, have not received their vaccination. This variant makes up as much as 93 percent of U.S. cases, according to the CDC. And the FDA has not yet approved vaccinations for children younger than 12, putting them at risk.
Medical experts warn the highly-contagious Delta variant is pushing back California’s timeline to reach herd immunity, which could slow down the opening of our economy and society if we see significant spikes in cases and deaths. With that in mind, even if a child resumes in-person learning in the class-room, it is important for families to prepare for the possibility of virtual learning again if schools are forced to close or if a child becomes exposed to COVID-19 and needs to stay home.
Here are several tips to help families get ready:
- Help your children get back into a routine. During this time of uncertainty, a regular routine gives their day predictability and structure. They are a vital component of aiding students to excel. These include having a regular habit of waking up and eating healthy breakfast foods to preparing a study zone where they can focus on their homework and reading.
- Parents should share concerns and questions with a teacher or counselor. Faculty members are there to be advocates and allies for students. If the child is feeling overwhelmed by their return to school during the pandemic or daunted by their homework load or showing signs of anxiety about re-adjusting to classroom life, these educators are in your corner so share your concerns openly and hon-estly with them.
- Stay flexible. During the pandemic, everyone is facing their own challenges. That’s why it’s essential to work together to adapt in order to create a safe, supportive environment for children to learn. Re-member that with COVID-19, the situation might change quickly, which will make positivity and a flexi-ble mindset a vital asset for success.
- Watch for signs of depression. Children facing the stress of returning to the classroom where there are new rules to protect their health may become withdrawn and have emotional challenges. Signs may include eating disorders or anxiety around food. The stress might show up in abdominal or other physical pain. Young people who have been cyberbullied during virtual learning, especially, will under-go emotional strain in social settings.
- Communicate openly. For a student’s ability to adjust to in-person classroom learning, it’s vital that parents/guardians listen to their needs. Foster open conversations by regularly checking the child and asking in a supportive way about their thoughts and feelings and their social interactions at school. Stay in touch with the child’s teacher, too, especially if the student is comparing himself or herself to peers and worrying they’re not performing well enough in class.
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