Uncertainty feeds anxiety, and the COVID-19 pandemic is rife with it. While families will have to accept some uncertainty, school officials and educators may help ease the transition by managing collectively to communicate with families regularly and explicitly about the procedures for returning to school. It is important to have a blueprint to maintain academic education and to ensure that students have access to specialised services. To plan for the return to school, teachers should exercise regular communication to apprise students and families about academic standards such as adjustments made at schools, specific expectations for families, upcoming plans, long-term plans, and access to services and other basic school services which students and families depend on.Planning schedule:

Maintaining a regular schedule provides a sense of control, predictability, and tranquillity. It also teaches children to respect each other’s needs for peaceful, uninterrupted time alone and to connect with friends. Considering minor details such as how teachers will stand in the classroom during the first lesson or sharing with the students’ relatable experiences, as well as coping skills, can help them feel less alone and offer them a roadmap for being comfortable. Planning and creating a schedule for the physical classes will help the teachers be prepared.

Validate and hear the students out:

Remote learning has taken a toll on the emotional, social, behavioural and academic growth among some students. With schools reopening, children may experience a new set of unexpected feelings. Educators must support children at this period by identifying symptoms such as irritability, mood changes, physical problems, appearing clingy, and becoming disturbed or angry easily. During the first week of school, educators must spend a lot of time getting to know the students to encourage them to feel comfortable about the transition. If they continue to express anxiety or panic, listen to them carefully and validate their feelings; post which, the educators can recommend professional guidance for the students.

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Self-Care:

Educators’ ability to help others is constrained by their own physical and mental health. Remember that being a teacher or other school-based professional is difficult – especially during COVID-19, and they may be battling to stay healthy in the midst of it all. Most crucial, make sure to exhibit compassion to oneself as well as others. Given all of these changes, teachers may need an extra break or two during the day to regroup. School staff should promote and ensure that educators take time to care for themselves while preparing to help students. If teachers find coping with these changes and responsibilities resulting in significant mental health issues, it may be time to seek professional help rather than attempting to manage everything on their own.

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