• Deirdre Brandner

Returning to School: COVID-19

How I feel about sending my child back to school:

Some of us are jumping with joy at this announcement, for others we are experiencing guilt and apprehension.

Many parents will struggle making the decision to send their child back to school, and this is made increasingly difficult because of the inconsistencies across states and between school sectors. Because such ambiguity breeds anxiety, it can be difficult to know exactly what to do. As a parent you need to remind yourself that there is no right and wrong…your decision will be respected and in turn we have to respect the choices other families may make.

What do I need to consider?

  • Some children will be desperate to return, others more anxious

  • Don’t let your beliefs about learning impact your decision making,

  • This is not about education as children have the opportunity to learn in many different way

  • Attending school means a return to routine, thereby reducing stress and anxiety, as there is access to friends and the opportunities to interact with others

  • When your child returns to school it is important that they do so with your confidence that school is okay.

  • For those not returning to school now, remind them that they will be returning to school eventually.

What will help my child when they go back to school:

  • When communicating with your child, refrain from using the word “unsafe” around school. This may have an ongoing impact when they return to school.

  • Ensure your child is aware of the ongoing restrictions that will remain, no play dates or hanging out after school

  • It is unhelpful to share your own or other’s anxiety about this decision with your children, “mummy is very worried about you going back to school”. “I’m concerned that you’ll fall behind if you don’t go”

  • Let your child know that drop off and pick will be different because of the new rules

  • Make sure they know that their teacher will be there and that you will be there to pick them up. Show them where you will meet for pick up.

  • Focus on the aspects of school that are going to be the same, you will do schoolwork, play games, do fun activities, see your friends.

  • Explain that there will extra things you will have to do like handwashing and sanitising

  • Suggest that there will some areas of the school that you may not be able to access

  • School may start and finish at different times and other year levels may not have recess and lunch with your class.

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