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As the weather warms, individuals are ready to leave their homes and re-enter the world. The COVID-19 pandemic placed many strains on society, particularly in the educational system. Parents became teachers, and students adopted virtual learning techniques over the past year.
An increase in vaccination distribution placed a level of security on individuals. As case numbers drop, students are ready to get back in the classroom. Many parents are now questioning, “When will schools reopen?”
Children’s limited awareness caused safety concerns in grade schools throughout the pandemic. Asking young children to wear a mask all day was a challenging demand. Fortunately, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a statement regarding current mask regulations.
The CDC no longer requires fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks or physically distance outside or inside. They still ask community members to abide by federal, state, tribal, local or territorial regulations. Though new laws and rules promote in-person learning, children’s vaccination remains in a trial period.
Many grade schools plan on reopening in the fall, and children will likely receive the most restrictive guidelines. Until kids are fully vaccinated, they may wear masks and keep a safe social distance indoors and around individuals outside their household. Teachers can set up classrooms to provide adequate spacing between students, ensuring optimal safety.
Some grade schools also provide daycare options. Children under the age of two are not required to wear masks. The CDC recommends that young children with health conditions still take cautionary measures.
If grade-level students are unvaccinated in the fall or have difficulty following guidelines, online learning may be an option. Many schools stray from virtual classes as they return to in-person learning. Fortunately, you can access a virtual education from online charter or private schools.
Though high school students have a greater awareness, previous CDC restrictions converted upper education to hybrid learning. Many students spend a couple of days on campus and the rest of the time online learning. High schools hope to use summer classes as an in-person trial run.
After the summer, students may return to full-time in-person learning if comfortable. New York City and New Jersey plan to send high schoolers back to class in August. There will be no available remote options, and students will have to abide by set school district regulations.
Universities have a vastly different approach to re-opening. The age of college students allows schools to enforce vaccinations for on-campus learning. New York colleges, like SUNY, require all students to receive vaccinations before returning in the fall.
The New School also plans to re-open with no restriction for vaccinated individuals after summer. Seven days before returning, all students must receive a COVID-19 test and obtain a negative result.
Some universities will re-open following a hybrid learning style. These schools are catering to the comfort of all individuals, prioritizing safety and mental health. Pace University will reopen three of its campuses for online, in-person or hybrid learning in the fall.
Tips for Teachers
Society encountered many negative emotions over the pandemic. As schools convert back to in-person learning, teachers may re-instill comfort into the classroom. Students may approach school with anxiety, fear and confusion.
Teachers can counter student’s negative feelings with peace and reassurance. Caring adults can bring comfort to a student’s life, especially children. Teachers can achieve this level of serenity by reaching out to each individual with a smile, words of encouragement and addressing them by their first name.
Compassion and understanding also help students feel validated and supported back in the classroom. Embracing friendships additionally breaks anxiety barriers after a year of isolation. Many teachers promote goodwill in the classroom as a learning tool.
Teachers can start by presenting covid-friendly friendship boundaries depending on set regulations. Whatever regulations you face, you can meet each relationship with kindness. Students can write weekly warm and fuzzy’s to spread kindness and develop friendships.
Tips for Parents
If your child is unvaccinated or has health concerns preventing them from attending in-person class, parents may homeschool their children. Learning from home is challenging for some, and following a schedule may help. Children thrive on routines, so keeping consistent timing is beneficial.
Creating a designated learning space away from distractions also helps promote at-home learning. You may additionally create emotional space for your child to provide feedback on their educational experience and routine. Parents can take feedback and alter their teaching style, creating an optimal learning space.
Communication Is Key
Whether you are a student, parent or teacher, it is essential to set and respect boundaries in the coming school year. Communication is the key to a successful reopening of schools. Individuals may also stay up-to-date with CDC regulations and guidelines, making global safety the top priority.