With the ongoing variant and the rejected option to stay home virtually in most districts, students are going back to school for the first time in a year and a half with the pandemic reaching another wave. With the unclear direction that pandemic continues to direct, there is of course the fear of catching or spreading covid. Without a doubt, the importance of getting vaccinated (for those 12+!) and wearing your mask continues to be prioritized, but the thought of being with your whole class in a small school can be stressful when it comes one's health.
Ways to Stay Safe
1- Social Distance
2- Wash your Hands
3- Wear a Mask (over mouth and nose!!)
4- Get Vaccinated
5- Bring a Hand Sanitizer
6- Stay Home When: feeling sick, waiting for COVID test results, and contact tracing
7- Avoid Crowds
8- Open Windows in Classrooms
9- Cover Sneezes and Coughs
Why In Person School?
Besides offering academics, school offers students a place to gain social and emotional skills and have access to mental health services, such as guidance counselors. For some families, school is vital to provide meals and internet access to their kids. With being remote the past year and a half, 59% of children lacked either internet access, a computer to use, or became too reliable on their cellphone to complete classwork. Online school became the definition of distractions. Students lost their attention span by dozing off or going on their cell phone during zoom classes. Students need to rebuild their concentration and have a more direct education to avoid falling behind.
How to Go Back?
Eliminating normal first day jitters and fears of the pandemic, students are worried about returning to the social aspects and pressures of school. For some, virtual learning was where they thrived. They were able to eliminate the idea of "fitting in" and instead solely focus on their studies. Online learning reduced students' fear of being bullied and the idea of being back in the cafeteria can feel daunting. Despite virtual learning being an escape, the rate of depression and anxiety rates doubled through the pandemic among the youth. There is never one right way to learn in school, but an in person education brings development benefits for students. Although jumping back into the world brings on new fears, regaining social skills with a positive attitude is the most lighthearted approach, opposed to stressing on the uncertainties.