Parent putting on child's face mask

Now that our students have transitioned back to in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year, safety is first and foremost on the minds of parents/families, teachers, and administrators. The desire to ensure student safety extends beyond the mask wearing and hand washing that is part of their daily routines. The emotional well being of our students needs to be prioritized as they transition into their new normal. As we guide them in this transition, here are some key points to keep in mind:

Digital lives have changed
As we shift back into the structure of the school day, students will struggle as they lose the daily digital habits they developed during distance learning. Many of them depended heavily on digital devices for their social, academic, and family interactions for the past 17 months. As they transition back, it is important to: 

Affirm the positive
“Digital citizenship calls attention to the unique challenges that students encounter when navigating the digital world. At the same time, it highlights the unique sets of skills and dispositions that students can use to navigate these challenges in a safe and responsible way. And when students put digital citizenship into practice, they’re effectively using social and emotional strategies to address the uniqueness of their digital lives.”- Common Sense Media

Students deal with a lot online, and it can sometimes be overwhelming for them. Remember to:

Be realistic with your expectations
As we move back toward in-person instruction, getting through your subject matter content will be the biggest priority. But remember that you’ll probably need to recalibrate your expectations around students’ ability to stay engaged.” – Common Sense Education

The structure of many students’ lives was disrupted by the pandemic. It will take time for them to build the stamina they need for sustained academic tasks, both at school and at home. Teachers and parents/families can: 

  • practice patience with students and each other 
  • reflect on what worked and didn’t work during distance learning to establish effective routines for this school year 
  • continue to use tools like Google Classroom and Synergy ParentVue/StudentVue to ensure consistent communication between teachers, students, and families

Keep the dialogue open
One thing that the pandemic reinforced is that school/home partnerships are key to students’ success. Teachers, parents, and families should: 

  • check-in regularly to communicate any challenges or concerns that they observe either at home or at school
  • ask students how they feel about the transition back into in-person learning

Continue to monitor students and their use of technology
Although Chromebooks and devices have been used for years in classrooms and at home, it is important that parents/families and teachers continue to monitor students’ activity online. The article, “Why the Best Parental Control is You” highlights the essential role parents play in helping their children develop healthy digital habits. Parents need to monitor how much time children are spending online, what they are doing while online, and with whom they are interacting to ensure that their children are making safe choices. For additional guidance on parental controls and ways to keep your children safe online, visit our EGUSD Parental Controls page. 

Although the pandemic has presented us all with many challenges, Common Sense Media sums it up nicely:

“The coronavirus pandemic has been painful for many families, and it’s unclear how long the disruptions to school will last. But we should learn from it what we can. By intentionally and explicitly cultivating students’ social-emotional competencies, we can support students in ways that set them up for success, both now and during future challenges.”- Common Sense Media