Returning Back-to-School Post COVID-19: Tips to Make the Transition Successful

By Huntington Learning Center

The transition back to school after the summer break always requires some adjusting for students, but the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year might be extra challenging. For some students, this will be the first time they have been fully in-person since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. So how do you prepare your child to head back into the hallways and classroom? In this post, we share tips to make the transition back to school post-COVID-19 a success.

Challenges of Returning to In-Person School

The thought of getting back into the groove of a normal school schedule is certainly an exciting one! The degree of adjustment the transition will take will be different for every child. There are some social, emotional, and logistical challenges your child might experience. Understanding what these challenges are will help you to prepare for them.

Social Challenges: Heading back to school full-time can cause separation anxiety for some. Many children have spent the last year in their own homes with a parent or guardian nearby. Being away from home all day could cause some anxieties and uncertainties. Some children may also have to work on their social skills after spending so much time away from friends and teachers.

Emotional Challenges: The year of remote learning took an emotional toll on many of us. Many might be behind academically, and that can cause a lot of frustration. Some children might also have fears and anxieties about being back in the classroom with teachers and other students after a year of lockdowns and social distancing.

Logistical Challenges: Let’s face it, many of us adults need to readjust to getting dressed and out the door in the morning again, so we can expect children will feel the same way. There may also be some challenges associated with potential exposures and positive cases causing a (hopefully) temporary return to virtual learning.

Tips to Make the Transition Back to In-Person Learning Successful

The good news is there are things you can do now to help make it easier for your child to overcome the challenges of returning to school. Here are 6 tips to set your student up for success going back-to-school.

  1. Talk Positively About the Return to School
    It’s important to emphasize all the positive aspects of returning to school to help your child get excited. Remind your child that they will get to see all their friends again, they’ll have the opportunity to learn new things, and they can resume some of the school activities they love. You can help them look forward to the return to school by asking questions such as: “What are you the most excited about?” and “What have you missed the most about school?”
  2. Discuss the Changes to Expect
    Understanding that things in school might not look exactly like they were before the pandemic will help to eliminate some surprises and frustrations. Physical distancing measures will likely be in effect such as spaced-apart desks and smaller class sizes. Students may also be required to wear masks and have their temperature taken before entering the school. Check with your child’s school about the measures they expect to have in place so that you can set clear expectations. In addition to making your child feel more comfortable, this will help you to prepare for specific regulations and purchase required supplies.
  3. Spend Time Away from Home
    After a year of learning from home, your children are likely very comfortable with being in their own surroundings. Depending on their age and personality, they may also feel more secure being with a parent or guardian. It’s important to gradually get your child accustomed to being away from you and your home for longer periods of time. You can set up play dates with friends whose parents you are comfortable with or plan a visit with a family member. If you do not have opportunities to practice saying goodbye to your child, then try to encourage regular periods of independent play.
  4. Focus on Routines
    Routines can provide comfort for children during uncertain times. Even as adults, many of us often feel more confident when our activities for the day are predictable. Establishing routines for back-to-school is something we always recommend, but this will be even more critical for the 2021-2022 school year.

    You can start getting your child used to a schedule over the summer by creating morning and evening routines. Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day will go a long way when it’s time to return to school! Set a time at night for no more screens. Experts suggest cutting off screen time one hour before bed to get the best night’s sleep.

    You can also create a new post-COVID-19 schedule for each school day together. Here’s an example:

  5. Anticipate Review Work
    The first couple of weeks of school is typically a review process. Teachers go over previously taught material to ensure students remember key skills before moving onto new lessons. The review period this year, however, will be much longer. Since students were virtual for so long, teachers will need to make sure everyone is up to speed on material from last year, and that could take a couple of months. We’ve also seen COVID-19 learning loss impact students of all ages. To learn the warning signs of COVID-19 learning loss, read this blog.

    Parents should also be mindful that it could take longer than previous school years to see which subject areas your child might need extra help with.

  6. Find Out Where Your Child Stands
    Do you truly know where your child stands academically after two COVID-19 interrupted years? If you can’t answer that question with complete confidence, then it’s time to get an academic check-up. An Academic Evaluation will pinpoint your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Then, you can develop a learning plan to meet your child’s specific needs. Click here to learn more about our approach to an Academic Evaluation

This is an exciting time for parents and students! Returning to an in-person school schedule has academic, physical, and mental benefits for children. These tips will help you get your child ready for a successful transition back-to-school. If you have specific questions about setting your child up for academic success this year, call us at 1-800 CAN LEARN.