Mom and Dad made the decision last week that I would be going back to school. They had been talking about it for a long time. When many people were still getting sick from the virus, they leaned towards more homeschooling, and I was silently relieved. But as the date grew closer, the numbers from the virus came down, and they felt more confident in sending me to school as they thought I would be safe.
At first, I was excited to see all of my friends. I have a younger brother, but he doesn’t always play the way I like. I need my friends to talk to and to play the games we love.
My cousin Siam is not able to go to school. Her family lives in an area where the numbers for the virus is higher than our district. So she will continue learning online while I can go back to school.
Finally, the day came. It was time to go back to school. It was strange when my mother took my temperature this morning. It is a check that will happen every morning to keep everyone safe – safe from me, if I get sick.
Mom dropped me off in the car parking lot instead of walking me to the playground. This was one of the new rules. It made me feel sad that she could not watch me start my day. I could feel my stress level go up.
I can barely remember the last time I was here at school. Nothing is very familiar to me, even though I have been here hundreds of times. School has changed so much.
My friends cannot come close to update me on what they have been doing. Now we stand on Xs outside the school patiently waiting to go inside. There is an eerie silence as every parent has warned us to be very careful at school so that we won’t get sick.
Finally, when I get to my classroom, things are very different. Our desks are spread apart. We all carefully walk to our spots to look through our new school supplies and arrange things near our private spaces. Once we sit down in our places, we begin to feel a little more relaxed. We wave, smile, and air high five.
I am missing my best friend, Jared. He has been assigned to another class and will be coming to school on opposite days to me. There are only 15 kids in my class.
Our teacher is new to the school. Mrs. G. is staying at home with her family, so Mr. K. Is taking over teaching the grade 4 classroom. He is wearing a mask, but I can still see his smile as there is a clear patch in his mask. He looks friendly. I start to feel a little better.
I sure hope the day goes smoothly as I still feel jittery.
The first thing we do with Mr. K. is to play a game. It helps us concentrate on fun instead of worrying about the situation. We start by all following Mr. K. ’s moves. He jumps on 1 foot and then on the other. Soon he is turning around, and we all follow. That is the warm-up. My friend Sahira chooses Dylan to close his eyes to be “it”. Then Mr. K. selects Bonita to be the leader to change the moves. We follow her movements, while Sahira tries to guess who the leader is now. Soon I was so involved in playing the game; I began to enjoy myself and laugh at our antics.
When I get home that afternoon, I tell mom all about my first day. I played games, read some new books, talked to my friends, worked on some math games on the computer, and watched some videos. I am looking forward to returning the next day.
My mom smiles.
Consider Emotional State First
Many kids will be nervous when it is time to go back to school face-to-face. Hopefully, all of the adults involved will understand that teachers need to concentrate on helping kids find the experience enjoyable while feeling safe. Academics may need to take a back seat for some time. It will take not just days or weeks for everyone to be ready for academic challenges. It may take months.
And that is OK.
Kids Can: in the coronavirus pandemic See the tips and tricks to help kids be more positive during the coronavirus pandemic. Use storybooks and Youtube videos to help your kids understand their emotions.
And for the emotional distress for kids of all ages. The Best 20+ Resources for Battling the Coronavirus Fatigue in your Kids of All ages
At some point, the schools in your neighborhood will reopen. Prepare your young child for the new normal. Use these 7 Tips and Tricks. Going Back to School Help for Parents Testimonial: Sara Schultz: this is great! I am an elementary school counselor and have lots of opinions on this but if parents choose to send their children the parent tips in this article are spot on. Takiyah Brickhouse: great article to communicate in a child-friendly language.