Going back to school this year is going to be unlike any other. School boards and administrations have been working tirelessly to create a plan that allows students to go back to school in person, while prioritizing everyone's safety, as well as the quality of education. Schools across the country are either going back to school fully in person, using a hybrid model, or going fully online.
No matter what model your school district has chosen, here are some steps to follow to have a safe, engaging, and fun 2020-2021 school year. It is also important to remember that as the global pandemic continues, methods of education may change, so it is best to prepare for flexibility and be able to adapt quickly.
- Check your local school supply store for discounts on home printers, ink, paper, and other school supplies
- Consider school supplies you may need for online learning, such as: wireless mouse, a comfortable desk chair, a desk, a study lamp, etc.
- Set up a comfortable work area in your home: ask your child where they would feel most comfortable doing online learning from and do everything you can to keep that area quiet and free from distractions during the day
- Ask your school if they are supplying any at-home supplies or accessories
- Consider buying a larger backpack to keep all school supplies, water bottles, lunches, snacks, etc.
- Work with your child to create a structured schedule to follow throughout the day so they can expect a consistent school day at home
- Utilize a large dry erase board to map out a calendar and daily schedule
- If your child has a smartphone or tablet, sit down with them and set up clear guidelines for screen time to minimize distractions from learning
- Consider buying individual supplies for your child that are typically communal items in classrooms, such as highlighters, pens, pencils, crayons, etc. to minimize any unnecessary spread of germs
- Send your child to school with a personal water bottle with a covered mouth spout (communal drinking fountains may be closed for use)
- Label all of your child's school supplies with their name so nothing gets lost or used by anyone else
- Buy a travel size hand sanitizer for your child to bring to school and have on hand at all times
- Buy a couple of comfortable masks for your child to rotate out throughout the week and pack their backpack with some extras just in case
- Use the next few weeks before school starts to teach your child about health and sanitation practices to use at school such as frequently washing their hands, social distancing, and avoiding touching their face
- Look for opportunities to help your child to apply what they are learning at school to everyday life and have meaningful conversations about these topics
- Remind your child that following health and safety guidelines when they are at school will keep other students and teachers safe
- If you are doing online learning at home, utilize any outdoor space for learning to change things up and get out into the fresh air
- Collaborate with other parents to brainstorm fun at-home learning techniques and tips
- Reach out to other parents to create an inclusive community where you can seek and provide support during this difficult time
- Ask your child what they are excited about this school year to promote a positive mindset
Regardless of the learning method your school district has chosen, it will require some adaptation and change from everyone. Here are some additional resources to check out: