Heading back to school use to be somewhat of an interesting time of the year if you have kids going back to school where it was fairly stressful. But heading back to school today is like getting your kids ready for battle. At one time this was a happy time of the year where your children started a fresh year and in many cases were happy to see your children back in school and give a break to your day. But heading back to school in COVID-19 era is something that everyone takes very seriously, and many parents still have a ton of questions that needed to be answered before the school year starts in September.
With two weeks give or take before the school year kicks off the only concrete thing, we know is that you as a parent had the choice of sending your child in for in school sessions or take the year virtually with no moving back and forth. Still a very difficult discission to make as a parent in light of the variant getting much more serious among children and the effects that if has on them. The COVID-19 variant is something that we all need to take very seriously, but the effects on children is paramount and needs to be monitored very closely as kids head back to school and throughout the school years.
Going back to school can be stressful for any child – especially for kids living through the COVID-19 pandemic and returning to the classroom. A year of remote learning has taken an emotional, mental and developmental toll. Many children have fallen behind in their studies, missed out on big milestones and suffered from a lack of peer interaction that helps develop crucial social skills. Now, declining rates of COVID-19 cases mean schools can reopen with safety provisions such as masking and physical distancing. But although a return to in-person school promises a more stable, interactive learning environment, the transition also presents new mental health challenges.
There are so many mixed feelings among parents and kids about going back to school according to experts from the medical field as well as educators. Most are excited about the in-person learning, not only because so many have struggled academically, but because school is really important to kids’ development. On the other hand, families are fearful about safety and anxious over the potential disruption of reclosures in the event a classmate tests positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. The entire mental psyche changes once you find out that someone in your class or their family has test positive for the virus. The mental part of this entire equation is so crucial and how we all deal with it as teachers, parents, and students.
Try to be as informed about the real risks and benefits of a return to in-person school during the ongoing pandemic. Consult reputable sources, such as doctors and health care workers about how the virus is transmitted and if it affects your child, how do you deal with this crisis effectively without panic and drama to your children. Be prepared for increased caution over kid’s health, especially younger students. Children with runny noses, coughs and fevers, despite the cause, will be required to stay home until they’re well. Be prepared for the worst and hope for the best as these situations can arise at any minute.
Regardless of how you deal with the return to school, the stress levels are incredibly off the charts and sending your children back to school is like sending them into battle. I may be a bit exaggerating the return but when you weigh all the options with going back or not, the return could be much worse. The mask situation with breathing issues could be a problem and the social distancing is something that small classrooms may not be able to accommodate. But the most important part to the return to in-class is that most of these schools do not have the proper ventilation system that are needed to properly run a daily class with the proper ventilation of these in many cases old classrooms.
Ventilation is one component of maintaining healthy environments and is an important COVID-19 prevention strategy for schools and childcare programs. Wearing a well-fitting multi-layer mask helps prevent virus particles from entering the air or being breathed in by the person wearing a mask. Good ventilation is another step that can reduce the number of virus particles in the air. The unfortunate thing about this is that the provincial politicians have said that they would deal with this issue and they have made a lot of promises but no-good results. Most ventilation systems are non-existent in schools and the future of building schools needs to be changed and updated in many cases. Premier Doug Ford and his minister of education have promises upgrades system to schools, but nothing has happened yet. Great political rhetoric, but no action by the Ford government.
Going back to school this year like no other year that l can recall has been so important to our way of life mainly because we need to get back to some sort of normalcy not just for our children, but as well for the rest of the family. The effects that keeping our children out of school also has a negative effect on the parents and how they handle the stress and their work environment. The stress is a chain reaction throughout the family compact and it is taking its toll on everyone. As much as we love our children, the structure that the school system brings to our lives is so important.
Unfortunately, politics seems to be taking some roll in our education system with upcoming federal election this coming September and a provincial election sometime in 2022 the need for using our children and the education system is something that should be off limits. Let’s truly support our future and do what is the right thing to do either through continued support or the adjustments to our structural building envelope of schools. Let’s keep politics out of our future builders and for once we should all pull together on this file. Our health care sector is just as important, but our youth is worth fighting for, because without a solid future foundation we are nothing…. Hard words but l believe they are true.