Back to School: Anxiety for Returning during COVID

back to school covid

It’s July, and we haven’t purchased not one uniform shirt or sock for the new school year yet.  The back to school preparation is on hold with the going in circles decision making that the politicians are doing.  It’s beyond aggravating, and I feel that they are not discussing this matter with the most important people involved, the principals, the teachers, and the families.  The idea of allowing our babies to go into an environment where they could get COVID or infect others because they are asymptomatic, is avoidable.

I recently read a blog post from an educator that listed a few reasons why traditional education should not be in the thought process right now, especially from the chief of idiocy.  We know damn well that the politicians are not sending their children to any institution where the probability of them contracting an illness that may result in death.  During the fall and winter months, we can not avoid getting the common cold because those booger pickers just carry germs everywhere. So if we can’t help but get a common cold from our children being amongst other children in a close environment, how can we avoid COVID?

Let’s examine what has caused anxiety for a majority of families and educators who are learning remotely and not amongst many children in a school setting.

Remote Learning

The New York City Department of Education (DOE), lent out over 300,000 laptops and iPads to families in need of technology.  We have been fortunate enough to provide our daughter with a computer of her own for remote learning, and it was becoming an issue sharing mine with her.

She was able to connect with her teachers and “see” her classmates, and we had to create a routine for all of us to adjust to being home in front of computers. The classwork was no different than if she was in class.  Once the settings for the Google classroom was set, and her login information saved, she knew to be present at 9 am Monday thru Friday at the same time we arrived at remote work.  We were all in our respective areas of our apartment, sharing this Wi-Fi with minimal technical issues.

I know everyone’s story is not the same as mine.  Families may be experiencing internet shortages, technical issues, too many children to one parent, or too many children to one parent who is also trying to work from home too.  With all of this going on, an essential aspect of this scenario is, we were safe at home, not being exposed to others who may or may not have COVID.

Comfort Zone

I find it interesting when teachers, the adults who are in charge of educating our children, don’t know how to do things that most of us learned to do because of socialization, while in school ourselves or for work.  During Zoom meetings with the school faculty, inquiries and responses would are with resistance. You would think as an educator, learning a new skill to advance one’s mind and the mind of our youth would be exciting, but the response was not. “We do not want our students sitting in front of the computer for hours at a time.” I chuckled and let them in on a reality.  Our children are on their phones, tablets, TVs, etc., because they can’t go out, they can’t socialize, they are not able to do the norms of their age group because we are in a shelter-in-place pandemic.

Principals, teachers, counselors needed to come out of their comfort zone. They are used to having a curriculum set and adjusting to what was on a piece of paper instead of reading e-mail. Instead of punching in using a card – which is so outdated, they now had to use technology to show up for work.  Google Classroom is not an advanced tool. The learning curve should not have been on the educators’ side but the parents.  As parents of one child,  we were understanding of what they were going through, but the process was not simple.  They continued to reference a school environment which we were not returning to at the time. They need to come out of the comfort zone.

Learn the following platforms to assist your students with a successful and fun learning environment:

  • Google:
    • Translate – there are many parents where English is not their first language. How does Google translate assist with the learning environment? Meetings, documents etc.
    • Classroom – viewing and assigning assignments for students, communication between the educator and the student.  How do you communicate effectively with the parents?
    • Hangout – allow the students to have time to talk amongst themselves during “lunch” or “recess” to encourage socializing.
    • Drive – how to save, retrieve and share working documents
  • Microsoft Suite: students and educators should familiarize themselves with creating documents on Word, PowerPoint presentations for special events or projects.

back to school COVID

Returning to School

I, like many other parents, are very anxious about having my child start middle school in an unsafe health environment.  The Secretary of Education DeVos recently conducted an interview repeating the threat that school funding would remove if schools do not open.  If this country was ever united, I wish it was now.  The United States needs to join together and stand on one podium and shout it out – KEEP THE SCHOOLS CLOSED!! Let’s go over why we need to be one voice and convince the powers that be that schools need to stay closed.

Reasons why schools should be closed

    1. Our kids are nasty. I’m not going to pretend that my daughter is not included in that mix. She just stopped picking her nose and sticking her damn hand in a chips bag. These kids need to wash their hands in the bathrooms constantly. The same bathroom privilege many are not afforded because they are denied going to the restroom in the middle of a lesson. There have been a few times when a teacher has told my daughter she could not go to the bathroom because they just returned from lunch, and she should have gone then.  *insert nervous laugh* We had a conversation with the school that week to discuss my daughter and any other child who needs to use the restroom, should do so without begging.
    2. Personal Protective Equipment.  During the past six years of being involved in the school system by way of our daughter, we have had long lists of supplies to support the school. No way will we be able to provide to your school what we can’t even receive for our own home. Amazon Prime needs to refund us now for not abiding by the 2-day delivery.
    3. Six-Feet/3-Feet Distance. I’ve been trying to visualize social distancing in the schools.  The classrooms tend to assign anywhere between 15 to 25 students to one class.  The seats are close enough where a student fixing their long hair ponytail will be on the desk behind them without them realizing.  Now a student will have hair strands that escaped your ponytail grasp on their desk to remove. Will that hair strand have lice or COVID?
    4. Air Quality. No human being should wear a face-covering on their mouth and nose for hours at a time.  We are designed to be able to breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.  We can not and should not breathe in continuous carbon dioxide. This also depends on the type of mask you are wearing.  If you have an issue while wearing your mask, not enough oxygen may be your issue.
    5. Remote learning may not be the option either. So during another zoom conference with the new school, NYC families are being given a couple of choices for returning to school.  The first one is remote learning.  Ha! Of course, there’s an issue with this just like there is with them physically attending school. If you choose to send your child remotely, teachers that are requesting reasonable accommodation (they also do not feel comfortable going into the school) will be your child’s teacher.  This may not equate to the service your child received earlier this year.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t care to have my daughter’s math teacher be the gym teacher who chooses not to go into the school.

How are you feeling about your children returning to school?

3 Comments

  1. It’s so hard with Covid-19 in South Africa currently because we are right in the middle of the school year. They’ve started introducing Year 12 , Year 11 & Year 7 (middle school) children back into schools and the effects have been devastating ! We’ve lost so many teachers due to Covid, so many teachers are sick and children are getting sick – they are currently thinking of closing them again so I totally agree with you.

    1. That is awful! I just don’t understand how a dollar is more important than the human who makes it. They should not reopen schools. There has to be another way to reach the children who benefit from classroom education.

  2. I’m glad you shed a light on this as a mom. This is one of the many concerns in the society today. From my standpoint, I strongly feel that schools remain close till the virus is managed, but of course we are hoping for a covid free situation. It’s very hard for kids to social distance and keep on sanitizing. Also another point is online learning, teachers are forced to adapt online teaching right away and not all of them have skills. Not everyone has good internet connection and take into the account the kids learning curve. Somehow this need time to find balance on how to make it work. For the time being, this is an opportunity for parents or guardians to teach kids which they don’t learn from the four walls of their classroom. Take care!

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