When students return to the schoolhousefor in-person learning in August, it will have been 18 months since the onset of the pandemic. For most students, the return to a measure of normalcy will be welcomed, for others, the transition may be challenging. The fact that some youth will struggle is not surprising nor unexpected.
Over the last year and a half, children and teens have experienced a variety of life-altering occurrences, includingthe death of loved ones; absence of direct physical contact with their peers and inability to participate in school and community activities.Exposure to this loss of routine and structure in their lives has led to the shattering of the children’s perceptions about safety and security. Theseexperiences have collectively resulted in isolation-related depression, grief, anxiety, frustration, anger and fear.
To help parents support their children’s reentry to school, Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ (M-DCPS) Division of Student Services has provided the following tips:
- Set bedtime and meal routines a week prior to the first day of school to give your child time to adjust.
- Provide supportive reassurance that they will be safe in school.
- Review methods of protecting themselves from contracting COVID-19.
- Encourage involvement in after-school activities (e.g., sports, clubs, drama, band, dance, etc.).
- Determine if they have any concerns about returning to schoolhouse or in-personlearning. If they have any reservations, attempt to problem solve.
- Display confidence in your child’s ability to successfully begin the new school year.
- Provide your child with clear expectations regarding time for completing homework, completion of chores, and time for friends.
- Inquire how your child’s day went; don’t settle for “just fine.”
- Encourage your child to re-establish social connections. Be mindful that your child may feel shy or unsure of themself when faced with social events. They may need support in reconnecting with friends and participating in face-to-face social events.
- Be patient, it may take some time to readjust to former routines.
- Contact the school counselor if your child is having continued difficulty in adjusting to their return to school.
The following tips are geared for students:
- Balance your academic responsibilities with the need for personal time and extracurricular activities.
- Stay with your routines and structure, they will help you to be your very best.
- Remain physically active by engaging in regular exercise.
- Remember to follow health guidelines to ensure that you will remain well.
- Eat healthy meals and get adequate rest.
- Make time for friends, but periodically disconnect from social media.
- Organize your weekly activities and responsibilities by keeping a calendar.
- Use mindfulness, breathing techniques, and other methods of relaxation to regulate stress.
- Check in with your parents daily to let them know how you are doing.
- Reach out to a trusted adult in your school if you need assistance, support, or information.
- Speak with your school counselor if you are experiencing emotional difficulties or feel overwhelmed.
The M-DCPS family welcomes you to the 2021-2022 school year. Working together, we can make this a successful start to a year of learning and growth.