Back to School During COVID-19  

Can you believe it’s already August? I’ve been spending most of my summer in a whirlwind of activities that the days just flew by; from the launch and promotion of my new book Say Yes to What’s Next, to our usual long days at Bridals by Lori.  It wasn’t all work though; I did manage to sneak away and spend a glorious week safely vacationing with my children and grandchildren. In what feels like a blink of an eye, we’re slowly wrapping up summer while so many of us are facing uncertainty and anxiety around back to school this year.

For many children across the United States, back to school doesn’t actually mean physically going back to their schools. Many will be starting the new academic year distance learning from home, away from their friends and the familiar environment that they love, while others face a significantly altered classroom setting. Today’s classrooms now include plexiglass partitions, face masks, hand sanitizers, and frightened teachers, educators, and administrators who will need to enforce rules that will be challenging for children. It’s heartbreaking for me to imagine our children no longer being able to whisper in each other’s ears during recess or trade desserts in the lunchroom.

Lori Allen, her husband Eddie, and their Grandson Jack at the beach on vacation

I don’t envy parents today, the decision to send their children back to school – even with all of these safety precautions in place – is not an easy one. My daughter has spent sleepless nights researching and agonizing over the decision as her girls enter third grade and kindergarten this year. This new school-age during a pandemic will take a lot of getting used to but if it’s one thing we know about our society, and especially our children, is that they are resilient and can adapt to whatever life throws at them—but they need our support and encouragement no matter.

Fortunately, no matter what stage we are in life, there is so much that we can all do to help our families and our teachers prepare to return to school during COVID-19. Here are just a couple of ways you can support your children, grandchildren, and the teachers in your communities, as they prepare to go Back to School:

  • Back to School Goodie Bags – Since so many of our nation’s children will be starting the school year learning from home, I’ve noticed mothers are weary and children are missing their teachers and friends. To cheer up the special children in my life, I put together back to school goodie bags that included a few fun school supplies, some new outfits, a couple of educational toys, craft project kit, and little gifts and treats that will get them excited about learning from home!
  • Supplies for Teachers – Preparing today’s classrooms requires an extra budget that sadly, many of our schools are lacking. Reach out to the school in your district to see how you can help! You can put together a back to school fund that will raise money towards these essential purchases, or you can set up an Amazon Wish List for teachers in your area to get the supplies they need so badly.
  • Homeschooling Help I might not be able to teach world history to my granddaughters, but I can pitch in and give my daughter a break to focus on her own business while I schedule some Zoom lessons with my granddaughters. I’ve scheduled an hour every Wednesday afternoon to read, help with some math homework, and to do art projects together. I made sure to include several great art projects in our back to school goodie bags that we can do together over zoom!
  • Decorate the Space – I love making seasonal refreshes to my décor, and I’m usually the first person on my block to have their fall wreath hanging on my front door. It gets me so excited for the changing of the seasons, and for the holidays that shortly follow. I truly believe that your surroundings impact your mood, and it will help to brighten up a homeschool space by decorating it for the new academic year. Pinterest is full of great ideas for decorating homeschool spots, especially when you’re living in small spaces and need to accommodate multiple children learning at the same time. Make a space for yourself too so you can stay organized, I find bulletin boards so helpful! You can post learning schedules, create snack and meal plans, and colorful chore charts to keep your home running smoothly.
  • Support Parents– Our society is so hard on parents nowadays, with people hiding behind screens while dishing out unsolicited opinions and advice. Whatever the parents in your life decide in regards to school this year, respect the fact that the decision was made with prayer, care, research, and love. Instead of criticizing or belittling the parents in your life, demonstrate encouragement and support. Our nation’s parents are more stressed than ever, and showing them that we’re here for them is critical in making this school year a success for everyone.

Will your family members be learning from home or physically going to school this year? Let us know how you’re preparing to go Back to School by sharing in the comments!

Until next time,

Lori Allen