I want to preface this with a note. This is my family’s experience with returning to face to face learning, I have two elementary aged kids that attend the Gregory-Portland ISD. I can not speak for all campus’ ,school districts or age groups.
Our school district started Phase 1 face-to-face learning on September 8th, starting with the elementary-aged kids, and our family decided to let our kids return to their school in-person. I have a kindergartener and a second-grader. Today I wanted to let you in on how it is going and some of the precautions we have put into place in our house.
So far our experience is a positive one!
One of the big things I was worried about was the mask-wearing. I wasn’t sure my kindergartener or my second grader would be able to wear their masks all day or that after a few days they would not want to keep going to school with these new precautions in place. I am pleased to report that neither of the kids even mention the masks when they talk about their day. There have been zero complaints.
Another one of the things I was worried about was them staying in their classroom while their teachers rotated. I was so happy to learn that they still get to go to PE and they still get to have Recess outside (weather permitting). Also, my son says that eating in their classroom is even better than in the cafeteria because he gets more time to eat. They also let them take a quick break outdoors after lunchtime to allow for trash pickup and sanitation. So my worry that they would be sitting too long or stuck inside at a desk was put to rest. They are still getting plenty of movement and instruction from their teachers. Also, I would like to add that last year I was frustrated that recess seemed to get canceled most days because of the heat, and this year I feel like they are getting more time outside than ever before.
One thing I have realized is that our kids are extremely flexible and resilient.
As parents, we could probably learn a little bit from them. Things are different but they are just so happy to be back in school and seeing their friends they are not finding it scary or limiting. As I am writing this we are at day 12 of face to face learning, we have received two notifications about possible/confirmed cases within the district and one of those was from before school even started. I know we have a long road ahead but I am really pleased with our district, our school and how well my kids have adapted to the routine.
While I am so proud of the steps our school and the district as a whole have taken to make sure our children and teachers are safe there are things I am doing at home to make sure that we are also doing our part.
Here are a few of the things I have started doing now that the kids have returned to school:
- I wash their masks every day as soon as they return home from school with really hot water and soap. I leave them to hang dry overnight so that they are ready to go each morning.
- They change into “play clothes” when they return home and their school clothes go into the laundry room. This gets the germy clothes off, and then they aren’t hanging around in their rooms.
- I try to spray their backpacks every day with Lysol (which is a hard thing to find right now), but when I can’t use the spray, I will get a washcloth and soap and water and just run it over the outside and the zippers, things they touch most often. Same for their lunch boxes. If I do this as I am unpacking them right after we get home it helps and makes sure I don’t forget.
- Each morning I make sure they are taking vitamins and immune boosters this has always been my practice especially during cold/flu season
- I am washing bedding and blankets 2-3 times a week. I know this means more laundry and the last thing we need to have on our plate is more laundry, but I have found that even for normal cold/flu season and my kid’s allergies it just helps all around to rotate the things they use most often. I have 2 extra sets of bedding for each kid so I can rotate and always have a clean set to replace it with, that way I am only really having to wash the favorite blankets more often this way I don’t feel like I have doubled or tripled my washing )
And of course, we are washing our hands…A LOT!
Some of these things were already my routine for the cold/flu season or they were things we put into place with my husband going to and from work during the lockdown.
It does require a little more effort and planning but it is worth it to find the balance between normalcy and taking precautions to stay healthy.
Have your kids returned to face to face learning? Have you been waiting to see others experience, I hope that this encourages you to know that we are finding success and that while things are not “normal” they are not bleak or scary.
Have you implemented any new procedures in your home to keep the germs at bay??