There is no doubt that this year’s back-to-school season is vastly different than in previous years. Whether your child is attending class in-person or online, you’ll be facing some unique challenges when preparing for this school year.
One of the most obvious changes to in-person schooling will be the implementation of safety protocols. These measures will vary from province to province and even board by board. They generally include optional or mandatory mask-wearing, physical distancing, and cohort grouping.
In preparing for back to school, it is advisable to practice mask-wearing and proper hand hygiene. Students are recommended to build mask endurance through pre-school year practice. Going from not wearing a mask to wearing one for the entire school day can be challenging. Experiment with different mask types—design, fabric, and size—until your child finds one comfortable to wear. Make the experience enjoyable by choosing a print reflecting your child’s personality, such as their favorite movie characters. Personalizing masks using fabric paints is also a fun option. Once a comfortable mask is found, gradually increase practice time, starting with enjoyable activities as a reward. This approach helps children become more at ease with mask-wearing, setting them up for success upon their return to school.
When preparing for an online return to school, assess your child’s comfort level with the necessary technology. Consult with your child’s teacher or the school board to understand the software that will be used and begin practicing on it. Depending on your child’s technical proficiency, you may need to start with basic typing and mouse usage. For classes using video conferencing apps like Zoom, consider setting up video calls with friends and family for your child to practice essential features. Knowing how to join a session, manage video visibility, and mute/unmute are crucial skills. Practicing these in advance reduces frustration during online classes.
Play and be active – consider VC
Regardless of the schooling option chosen, it remains crucial to provide children with opportunities for play and physical activity after school. Many typical extracurricular activities are not available due to the ongoing situation. If offered, weigh the risks of exposure against the benefits these activities provide for your child. An alternative is the After-school Virtual Camp (VC), allowing campers to safely engage in extracurricular activities daily. Virtual Camp offers opportunities for children to meet others, make friends, participate in active games and soccer skill-building activities, and have fun with games and trivia based on the week’s theme. These activities serve as a great way for your child to release stress and end the day on a positive note.