Most news stories have emphasized how badly public schools and universities want a return to normalcy after a year of virtual learning, but so many questions remain. Will the K-12 schools continue to provide virtual options, or will all instruction return to in-person learning? Will masks be required? Does the six-foot separation rule still apply? Will proof of vaccination be needed before a student can return to the classroom?
To answer these excellent questions, let’s start at the top.
1. Check with the People in Charge
Every one of the questions above seem like standard inquiries, but the answers may not be universal; one school district may offer virtual classes while the district in the next county might not, for example. Fortunately, the answers can and should be found at the district’s office.
While recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should be reviewed, the local school districts and front offices will be the best place to find out how the 2021-2022 school year will be handled. Don’t rely on second-hand information or random social media posts, either. Check directly with education provider for accurate information.
2. Talk to Everybody Involved
Prior to the pandemic, back-to-school plans tended to be both hectic and straightforward: school supplies, books, new clothes or uniforms, and transportation plans all need to be handled before the first day of school. And with plans about safe educational options constantly changing, the stress can get out of hand very quickly. Also, as with the previous school year, students need to know precisely how they will be educated.
The best strategy to handle these challenges? Communication.
Once you have a better understanding about how the 2021-2022 school year will work based on your location, talk to everyone in the family and make sure they understand everything.
Communication plays a huge role here, because school years can involve a lot of moving parts that can change with little notice. Transportation, classroom rules, safety procedures, drop-off and pick-up times, after-school care and activities, extracurricular schedules, and dinner plans can be just a few things that have to be taken into consideration. And without communication, these numerous parts can break down quickly.
3. Set the Schedule Early
Regardless of whether the student will be going into grade school, high school, trade school, or college, their success will depend on creating and maintaining a schedule. And with summer traditionally representing a time of freedom, starting back on a schedule can be a huge challenge.
To address that, start early.
If classes start back up August 10, the student should begin the new schedule no later than August 2. For K-8 students, that can mean following a set bedtime a week before lessons start. 9-12 students can be encouraged to follow a curfew, informal or otherwise. Trade school and college students traditionally have to budget their own time without supervision, of course, but there’s nothing wrong with a gentle nag from friends and family every now and then.
4. Create the Space
Finally, no matter what school level, go to the trouble of creating a work space for studying and practical application of the lessons. It helps to be clean and organized, but find whatever works best for the individual and keep at it.