Back to school: normality at last?
In this blog, we discuss how parents, teachers, and students feel about being back to school and a ‘normal’ routine after 18 months of disruption due to COVID-19.
The beginning of this new term marks the end of most Covid rules in schools. After these restrictions, going back to school and a return to normality may come as a relief to staff, students, and parents. But how do they feel about the situation now, and are they confident about the future?
In this blog, we discuss how teachers, parents, and children will cope with the return to ‘normal’ in schools.
What has changed this term?
According to BBC News, isolation bubbles, face masks, and social distancing measures are no more in schools. In secondary schools, however, students will still be expected to take regular lateral flow tests.
In line with government back-to-school guidance, schools are responding to the new situation with some minor precautions to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infections. This includes increased hygiene measures (such as regular hand-washing) as well as increased ventilation in indoor settings.
How are teachers, parents, and children responding?
Many parents are relieved that their kids will receive a normal school experience after such a disruptive year. However, emotions are undeniably mixed.
Last week, The Guardian spoke to six teachers about the back-to-school period. In general, they expressed their relief at returning to routines and were sure that children would enjoy taking part in group activities again. They also emphasised the importance of the social interaction for children that’s been lacking this year, especially for younger kids. Although teachers no longer face the challenge of getting children to socially distance, there’s some anxiety about the number of students and staff who may need to self-isolate in the coming year.
As Covid cases remain high nationally, parents have also shared their concerns about the risk of catching the virus. Transmission is particularly worrisome for vulnerable parents. Speaking to BBC News, one such parent claimed, “there will be nothing between our children and Covid-19”, whilst acknowledging the difficulty of balancing public health and children’s educational and social needs.
Parent and children’s author Michael Rosen expressed similar concerns about how safe an environment schools will really be. Writing for The Guardian, he observed that some classes lack openable windows which raises doubts about how these classrooms will be a Covid-safe environment for children, teachers, and by extension, families.
Normality for now, or for good?
Despite the return to relatively normal circumstances in schools, there are concerns about how long this might last.
Currently, Covid cases are more than 30 times higher than they were this time in 2020 [as at September 2021]. These statistics fuel skepticism amongst students and staff that restrictions might need to be re-introduced. What’s more, the normality of the whole school year – not just this term – is uncertain. For example, plans for sitting exams remain unknown at this point.
Whilst there may be additional back-to-school nerves this year, the role of schools and education is just as important as ever. At Utility Rentals, we’re wishing teachers, students, and parents a happy and healthy new school year!
In our latest blog, we look at some ways schools can help students transition back to school after lock-down to minimise any stress and settle them in.