When most schools all over the world return to in-person learning, how do you welcome students back after the pandemic?
Teachers face a new challenge as students who had previously taken online classes and distance learning return to the classroom.
This involves keeping students engaged, safe, and on top of their studies. Even if it’s not an easy task considering the situation, it’s important to maintain an amount of confidence and tell our students that they are okay and things will get better.
The sudden shift of education to online learning and the school closures due to the global health crisis brought dramatic changes. Everyone had to adjust to the situation and adopt online education to keep going. And now that COVID 19 vaccines are made available to all countries all over the world, hopefully, life will be back to normal.
Schools and universities will reopen as well.
As students are back on-campus studying, they should be welcomed with warm thoughts other than the accommodating learning environment. In this article, we will be talking about how to welcome students back after the pandemic.
Our way of welcoming students back to school will surely impact their perspectives and should carry a positive beginning for a more productive school year.
Are you making a plan of how to welcome your students after the pandemic? Write them in a teacher planner. Check out our list of the best planners for teachers to help you get well organized.
How Do You Welcome Students Back After the Pandemic? 7 best tips
Aside from making the school campus safe and implementing the necessary rules, general policies, and health protocols to prevent the spread of the COVID 19 virus, the following practical tips for welcoming students back to school should be done.
Students should feel safe and be made confident that it can be a productive school year for everyone.
1. Plan in advance
With students returning to in-person learning, as a teacher, you have a huge responsibility to keep them safe in school. Therefore, you should plan ahead to ensure students can thrive again as they re-enter classrooms.
Aside from the general plan crafted by the school administration, you should validate your dedicated teaching strategies with a plan.
Aside from preparing lesson plans and instructional materials to facilitate the learning process, you have to consider the best actions when unexpected things happen. What precautionary actions and emotional scaffolding need to be done to ensure the success of in-person learning after the pandemic?
We are in the most uncertain times due to the pandemic and our students are aware of it. Now, for any teacher out there, you will agree that our top concern for today is the health and safety of our students at this difficult time.
It’s always helpful to plan things out. It can keep us prepared when undesirable things happen. It can be overwhelming. It’s understandable. Yet, with planning, you can still make the best of the most challenging times.
2. Help students to be mentally prepared
In-person learning isn’t a new paradigm for students. However, the global pandemic makes the situation challenging which deeply affected the emotional and psychological well-being of our students.
Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic has caused anxiety and fear in everyone. Although students will get excited about the reopening of schools, we can’t remove worries from the equation. They need our empathy.
Children feel mixed emotions and we can be their best support as they go back to their classrooms. Having heartfelt conversations and interactions with your students can somehow make them feel better and at ease.
As teachers, we should provide emotional and mental support so our students uphold their courage to face the present situation.
Our students may still have to adjust to being distanced from their classmates and to wearing their face masks. That is why our ways of welcoming them back into the classrooms should not make them weary and nervous.
When schools re-open, helping students to navigate the escalating worries and anxieties with courage and strength helps them become psychologically and emotionally prepared.
Make them understand that they are not alone and that others feel the same way too.
3. Prepare the classroom for social distancing
Navigating changes in education after the pandemic should include the seating arrangement in the classroom. In other words, you should go into detail about the physical layout of the classroom that essentially promotes social distancing.
Children may want to get near to their classmates for they missed one another. But for the safety of everyone, proper social distancing should be observed while inside the classroom or while walking in school corridors.
Being physically distanced, students might find it uncomfortable. However, as teachers, we always have the power to make them understand why some of the things done before can’t exactly be done in the present-day classroom scenes.
Help them to adapt to the many changes in school, especially on how they should interact with their classmates.
Make use of your creative and innovative classroom arrangements as well. It’s one good way of communicating learning goals and the curriculum.
4. Equip the classroom with the necessary health and hygiene kits
One of the best ways to implement safety measures in schools is by equipping classrooms with health and hygiene kits.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that K-12 schools must continue to observe and implement COVID 19 operational strategies to ensure that school premises are safe for students.
Also, school administrators and teachers have a huge responsibility in preparing the schools to make the premises and the classrooms safe for everyone. Similarly, students should be reminded consistently about the following precautions to keep everyone safe from COVID 19.
Hence, as a reassurance to the implementation of safety measures, schools must have enough supply of masks, soaps, hand sanitizers, thermal scanners, thermometers, over-the-counter medicines, and many others. It pays to always be prepared and fully equipped.
5. Structure the bulletin boards
Welcome your students to the brilliant structure of your classroom bulletin boards. And given that students are excited about in-person instruction, the classroom must be prepared to keep them motivated by designing classroom bulletins.
Well-designed bulletin boards translate to productive student learning. A welcome banner at the door, for example, creates a warm atmosphere that makes students feel that they are to re-enter a safe learning environment.
In a way, students will feel that things are getting better and that they are to make the most of classroom instructions once again. Make learning fun.
Create happy learning moments anew. Let them sing and dance. Give them enriching opportunities to be at their best. Your interactive bulletin boards can always become your best teaching tool.
6. Expect challenges and remain flexible
Meanwhile, no matter how intense is your hope for a smooth transition of learning, still you expect challenges. You need to remain flexible and adaptable.
Face-to-face learning has to begin once again. School administrators, teachers, students, parents, and the community are all excited about the new segment in education.
Certainly, there can be challenges along the way, but with the cooperation and genuine concern of everyone, the schools can be made into a very safe place for the students to thrive once more.
Showing your students that you can easily adjust to the new situation by preparing the classroom just like before the pandemic will mitigate their worries too. It can somehow alleviate their fears and hesitations.
I know that the world has been facing enormous challenges since the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic, but with determination, courage, and faith things can be managed well.
Your dedication as a teacher is well accounted for. Your commitment makes the scene bearable. Things won’t be perfect. That is why you should begin with a plan as schools are returning.
7. Help students adapt to change
The best thing we can do as teachers is to assist our students in coping with the shifting landscape. Essentially, we can help them adjust to the new normal.
Our school children also are challenged to adjust to the ever-changing alterations in their daily routines. Likewise, we had anticipated the possibility of having to improve our return-to-school preparations.
For this, as teachers, for the sake of everyone’s safety, we must also assume the roles of public health advocates as students return to the classroom this fall. This is one of the big challenges we face. But with our mighty will and determination, everything can be done.
<<< Watch this video and get inspiration from their best practices.
Our students deserve equitable access to quality learning. Hence, most schools reopen as COVID 19 vaccines are made equitably available to all countries all over the world. However, it has been made clear that schools must still adhere to safety protocols recommended by health professionals.
Now that many of our students are to benefit from in-person learning once again after the pandemic, as teachers, we should as well take this opportunity to give them quality instructions while reassuring them that they are safe in the classroom.
Hopefully, the tips shared above can be of help to welcome students back after the pandemic. Together we can make our schools safe and engage all students to take part in the in-person learning process once again.