Author: Jessica Manfre
As the summer season begins to draw to a close, most parents feel the excitement in the air.
This is mainly due to the knowledge that their children are soon heading back to school. With
the global Coronavirus pandemic, this year’s back to school looks a little different.
Many states find themselves either mandating virtual learning platforms for their students or
allowing parents to choose in person or eLearning. The Center for Disease Control has issued
guidelines for in person learning, which is what the states are basing their plans on. Each
parent must make the best decision for their family. Depending on what you choose, your
preparation needs this year will vary.
In Person Learning
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children will learn best when they do in
person learning. This is based on the fact that they have reviewed the statistics of children
being less likely to contract COVID-19 and that when they do, their symptoms are mild. If you
are a parent who has decided to let their child return to their school, you may have utilized this
knowledge to make your decision. Most likely your school is going to be stepping up their
cleaning, handwashing recommendations and practicing social distancing. A good majority of
schools are also requiring other recommendations to be followed by the CDC:
- Mask wearing
- Readily available hand sanitizer
- Small groups
- Temperature checks
- Plastic dividers between children
There are several companies that are making masks for children. Target even has an affordable
two pack which has an insert for a filter, making them even more effective. You can also pre-
order Crayola masks; they are making one for every day of the week and also including a
laundry bag for washing. This will mean you’ll have to wash them or have one for every day of
school to make it easier. There are also disposable mask options that are available in almost
every store. Your school will give you a specific and detailed supply list as well.
Maybe this was your only option or – it was mandated by your school district. You may have
also weighed the options and decided that this was the best course of action for your family.
The hope is that over the summer the school district in which your child attends will have had
the time and ability to build quality distance learning plans. With this in mind, there are ways
you can organize your home to dive into eLearning.
- Create a schedule for the week; this essential if you are working remotely while also
trying to do virtual learning for the kiddos. More than likely, your school will have this
planned out already. Utilize that information and put it into a weekly calendar which is
visible for everyone to see.
- Find a space in your home for virtual learning. This could be anywhere, but it will make it
easier if it’s a consistent space utilized for eLearning. Make sure that space is stocked
with essential supplies and comfortable. Have a visible folder or bin for work that needs
to be checked by parents. Make sure the child knows that’s where it goes so that its
consistent every day.
- For the younger kids, it may be especially hard to keep them engaged with video calls.
Remember, they are used to having an environment where they are in person with their
friends and teacher. This will be an adjustment for everyone! Spend time building a
rewards program of sort when they complete them. This could mean incorporating
special “breaks” from school with play, reading or games. If adults are completely over
video conferences, the kids will soon feel the same. Find creative ways to make it fun.
Whether you are doing in person or virtual learning, feel secure that you made the best
decision you could for your family. Take the time to join social media groups for in person
learning or virtual learning in your area. Find ways to connect and work together to make it
through the new normal. These are challenging times but when we come together to support
one another, we thrive.
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