Transitioning back to ‘normal’

COVID-19 boy washing hands

Australia has been commended around the world for successfully flattening the curve. This has enabled us to start re-orienting back to ‘normal’ life with more restrictions being lifted across states. More importantly, it has also prompted the transition from remote learning to face to face learning for most of our children.

While there are so many positives to be taken out of our current situation, there is still a great deal of worry running through our own minds and even among our kids about how to properly transition back to "normality".

Concerns that many parents and children may be feeling

Contracting the virus as restrictions ease

As restrictions ease, more people are venturing out and there are concerns about complacency with social distancing.

Recent news on students testing positive for coronavirus at schools in Sydney and Melbourne leaves a lot of parents and students scared for their own well being, with the chances of contracting coronavirus increasing as the exposure to more people are outside.

It also creates another greater concern of a ‘second wave’, where we may need to re-enter conditions in which greater restrictions are enforced again.

Lack of consistency and routine in everyday life

All of us are experiencing constant disruptions these days with some restrictions being lifted while new restrictions are implemented. Unfortunately, our children are also exposed to these constant changes. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned families about jumping between remote learning and physical classes as schools shut down temporarily when a student tests positive for coronavirus.

A lot of students may be feeling a great deal of frustration by these disruptions. Many have just started to get used to learning from home and some even prefer it. The new arrangements of having to constantly transition between two different learning environments may have students feeling stressed from juggling their normal work load in addition to managing these changes.

Returning to ‘normal’ activities after life has been put on hold

Many aspects of our children’s lives have to some extent been in hiatus, such as after school activities and even regular class schedules. Students may find it difficult to pick up where they left off before remote learning commenced. This could lead to worries of feeling unable to keep up with school work and eventually falling behind other students.

It is important to let our children know these are extraordinary times and that the worries that they have are completely valid. To help our children overcome these feelings, the following tips may be useful in learning how to cope healthily during these circumstances.

Creating a plan

To help control feelings of stress about having to go between learning from home and going to school, it might be best to formulate a plan or outline of what a day of learning will look like for each type of learning environment.

Writing down a plan may alleviate your child’s uncertainty on what to do for school as this will create some form of structure to their day and can help build a new routine that is adaptable to both remote and face to face learning.

Maintain strong hygiene and social distancing practices

Despite low-levels of the virus currently in Australia, we still need to enforce a vigilant approach among ourselves and our children when it comes to hygiene and social distancing. It's important to continue maintaining these habits at home and when out-and-about.

Many schools are being proactive in implementing additional measures to ensure that teachers, students and other adults are maintaining social distancing and hygiene practices as best as they can. Nowra Anglican College has provided a comprehensive plan on the practices the school will undertake as it transitions back to face to face learning. For example, they have introduced staggered arrival times to prevent large clusters of students entering the school at the same time. They have also incorporated outdoor lessons to facilitate the 1.5m distancing requirement.

Continuous reassurance

If your children are starting to feel inundated with school work and the demands of these current conditions, it is vital to let them know that parents, teachers and their peers understand and are more than willing to be flexible. Schools are not expecting students to produce work at the standard they would normally expect if a pandemic did not exist.

In light of being flexible around a student’s development, schools such as Guilford Grammar Preparatory School have changed the format of their report cards to eliminate the rigidity of an A-E subject grading system. Instead, the junior school reports will place greater emphasis on personal development and emotional intelligence, making a point that a student’s well being is at the forefront of the school’s priorities over academic performance.

It may be hard at times to find silver linings within this current situation. However, the resilience and flexibility our children have shown in these tough conditions should not go unnoticed. As we encounter more disruptions on the way to recovery, we need to continue supporting our children as they grow and adapt to the changing circumstances around them.

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