Limiting COVID chaos during the school year – Harvard Health Blog

Child: “Will I go back to school this fall?
Parent: “I don’t know yet.”
Child: “Do you know when we will find out?”
Parent: “I don’t know that yet either.”
Child: “Will the school be the same all year round?”
Parent: “I don’t know either.”

Seems familiar? If the only thing you know is that plans change, you are not alone. School plans seem to change frequently – even before the school year starts in some places! With so much uncertainty, how can families limit the potential chaos that can arise from last minute decisions and changes? Here are four tips that can help.

Develop a plan for each school setup

Schools seem to be deciding between returning all students, all students attending distance school, and a hybrid plan of the two. While you can’t be prepared for everything in the future, you can contain some of the chaos by creating a plan for your family based on each of the three school scenarios. Since schools may change their decisions throughout the school year, it may be helpful to expand on all three now, in case one is needed.

For example, when planning a hybrid school year, have all caregivers in the house make a child care coverage schedule for the days the children would be at home. For distance learning days, creating a structured daily routine can help if distance education doesn’t fill the entire school day.

It is also important to talk to children about how school plans may change throughout the school year and what to expect from each plan. It can be helpful for children to understand why changes in plans may occur, so explain that the purpose of the changes would be to ensure that schools can continue to help children learn while keeping them equally healthy. as possible.

Whatever school plan is in place on any given day, try to keep children’s schedules as consistent as possible. Keeping the same waking, eating, and bed times the same each day can help make children less vulnerable to the stress of other changes that may occur to them.

Plan for health and safety too

If your children are taking face-to-face classes, talk about safe and healthy hygiene practices while they are at school: wearing masks, washing their hands often, and making sure to stay a safe distance from others. Also share what you want your kids to do when they get home. Where should they store their backpacks? When and where should they wash their hands on their return home? Decide how your kids will get to and from school if you think it might be different this year. For example, if your son used to carpool with other families or walk to school with other kids, this plan may need to change to keep your son six feet away. peers.

Check with your school to see if testing will be involved. If so, how and when would the school want a child to be tested? Also ask what action the school will take if a teacher or student tests positive for COVID-19.

Make a family calendar

With so many projects in the works, a visual reminder of what the week ahead will look like can help kids keep up with the changes. Put a weekly family calendar in a shared space like the kitchen. Review the week ahead when you’re together, like Sunday at lunchtime. You may also find it helpful to review the next day’s schedule each evening at dinner to remind the children of what to expect. For younger children who are not of reading age, try using pictures, such as pictures of a school or a house, to illustrate where the child may be that day.

Create a space to share your reactions

You might feel exasperated one day, sad the next, worried another, and hopeful the next. Your children can also have a range of emotions as they go through these difficult and ever-changing times with you. Talk to your kids regularly about how they feel about plans, changes and more, to give them space to share their experiences and receive support. Maybe the time for the weekly calendar review could also be when you check in and see what everyone thinks about school projects. Neither of you chose to make it happen and you are making the most of the situation by providing support and some predictability.

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Jothi Venkat

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