by Kristen Broussard, Contributing Editor
These days, many people consider returning to the classroom, and the COVID-19 vaccine is playing a significant role.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), schools across the nation are developing plans to reopen safely and experts encourage leaders and administrators to think strategically about protection from COVID-19. While the vaccine is currently available to children over 16, experts believe the safest way to return to school is for as many people as possible to be vaccinated. Following the CDC’s return to school guidelines, clearly, there are various issues to consider from the impact on our children and our educational staff.
Reopening while managing anxiety during the pandemic remains is a definite concern. The National Education Association (NEA) notes educators are not thinking about if schools return to in-person instruction but how schools can do in-person instruction safely. The NEA points to strategies frequently testing students and staff for COVID-19 and making sure educators can get vaccinated.
While these measures are in review, students and teachers look forward to the connection and comfort schools provide but may not understand what that transition entails.
“We need to examine and implement ways for not only our students to feel and stay safe but our staff as well. We want and need the structure and sense of normalcy that comes with a typical school day, but we’ve all been through a lot, and getting comfortable in our ‘new normal’ is going to take effort from everyone,” said Ayana Jefferson, lead counselor at a middle school in the Houston suburbs.
Jefferson added, “It’s more than masks and vaccines. It’s more than social distancing and washing your hands—it’s a new mindset, completely.”
Ways to sustain a successful transition call for prioritizing and adhering to public health recommendations while rebuilding a familiar community. Social emotional support plays a substantial part and must be integrated into the classroom. In-school support is comprised of ways that address social emotional health. Specifically, helping staff recognize how to manage change, anxiety and stress with customizable training can enhance the back-to-school transition, limiting negative issues during the school year and beyond. Consult with the experts to help you develop a training program for your administrative staff to go from transition to triumph.