Reconnecting with peers
Many students will have missed their friends during lockdown and many may have felt lonely and disorientated and miss the rhythms of school. After a long period away from school, those students who can return will need to be supported and given the time and space to reconnect with each other and school life.
Staff will also be required to successfully manage blended learning and reintroducing pupils back in to the school community.
Facilitating calls for those students not at school and assigning projects to be worked on together or in pairs will maintain social and learning relationships. Creating fun activities or book reviews for students to discuss with each other can keep that connection and engagement. Children will be required to social distance and continuously sanitise their hands once they are back at school and amongst peers. Teachers can create a fun and engaging exercises for their class whilst still maintaining everyone’s safety.
Some pupils will be dealing with loss and bereavement and they should not be expected to launch straight back into learning the curriculum as it was before lockdown. Returning to school may be the first interaction pupils have had with people outside of their home for a very long time and it is important to create a safe environment where pupils are encouraged to talk and share their experiences.
For children that will be returning to school after a long period of time, it is important to keep communication open and engaging. Younger children may be particularly worried about what the new school layout and health and safety precautions will look like. Communicating with them and their parents as much as possible about new rules and procedures and giving reassurance about safety will be important. Some children may have seen and heard many different things during the crisis, through news broadcasts, adult conversations and social media. It is important to be honest and positive when addressing any concerns children may have.