The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of returning to school during a Pandemic

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of returning to school during a Pandemic

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of returning to school during a Pandemic Behind the scenes in an Elementary School continued…

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of returning to school during a Pandemic

Behind the scenes in an Elementary School


As a child, I have always had fond memories of the month of September.  I remember the excitement of new school supplies, new clothes and shoes and most importantly seeing and being with my friends. Of course, there was the anticipation of finding out who my teacher was for the year. I loved school and my teachers and because of this, I dreamed of becoming a teacher.  

My dream came true, 30 years ago.  To this day, I love being a teacher and consequently, I love September.  I still feel the excitement of seeing all the children and being with them and my colleagues. 

I’m not going to lie or sugar coat my feelings of returning to school this September.  Bottom line, I felt every emotion on the spectrum, not unlike every teacher, child and parent. 

The unknown is a scary thing for all of us. We rely on our government and school board officials to make the best decisions for our safety and well-being. We look for their guidance and protocols to find our way each day at school.

Well, I’m here to tell you the good, the bad and the ugly of returning to school in September, during a Pandemic. 

What I know for sure is that it is always important to start out with the positive and there are many with returning in person to school.  As humans, we need the human connection, even from 6 feet away.  It is essential for our well-being, mental health and growth.  Returning to school allows for socialization, role modelling and building life long relationships. All of us thrive on routines and accountability and being at school can provide this.  

Many students, especially those with learning difficulties rely heavily on visual cues to interpret meaning and make sense of the content of the lesson.  Studies conducted by Dr. Mehrabian concluded that the interpretation of a message is 7% verbal, 38 % vocal and 55 % visual.  His findings show that 93% of communication is nonverbal in nature.  These findings clearly point to how important in class instruction is for students to see the many gestures and visuals provided by their teacher and classmates. 

Collaboration of ideas and learning from their peers can be done online, but again, many of the nuances of language are missed when not face to face. 

So, even with all the good things happening with the return to school this September, it would be remiss of me not to share the bad.  

Within all communities, the government has mandated a social distance of 2 metres apart.  This, however, is not the case within the four walls of our classrooms.  Each desk is only 1 metre apart to accommodate for the larger group of students (+25 in some classes) that are attending school.  There simply is not enough space and/or teachers to allow for the mandated social distance. 

The wearing of masks is essential for our safety outside in the community and of course within the school.  The difficulties we are finding range from masks being taken off often; not being worn properly; masks too big or too small; masks being forgotten at home and many touching their masks often.  It is understandable, that we all need to get use to wearing a mask, and as an adult I am finding it difficult.  Children are resilient and they are learning but let’s not forget this is very difficult for them. 

Further to wearing masks, all staff and students must sanitize their hands before they enter the school, the classroom and any time they move from their desks.  Yes, we teach children good hygiene at school, but because of this virus, we are all hyper focused on hygiene and it can consume many of us. Try managing 27 4 and 5 year olds in a Kindergarten room who need to move and explore. To add insult to injury, the smell of the hand sanitizer is very strong and many people are sensitive to smells. We are told to refrain from wearing perfume and strong scents.  Where is the sense here? No pun intended!

I believe the ugly in all of this, is two-fold. First, a return to school brings with it the many germs coupled with the cooler weather. Second, we have been out of school for 6 months and even though we had a staggered entry plan in place, we are altogether now and the numbers of Covid 19 cases are on the rise in many communities. Are we sitting ducks? Will our health protocols, government and public health protect us? This remains to be seen.

As you can see and most likely know now, the return to school this September 2020 has been good, bad and ugly.

Stay tuned for an update within the month of October.  




2 Responses

  1. Sarah says:

    My daughter already had a covid scare – and there are currently 2 classrooms closed in her school. In her grade 7 class there are 24 students and she says at lunch time they all eat at their desks, without masks, and certainly not physically distanced. It is a time of high anxiety as a parent right now, and I often feel terrible guilt worrying if I’m doing the right thing.

    Thank you for sharing your first hand accounts of back to school during COVID19 Pandemic.

    • lifestyleguide says:

      Thank you Sarah for your honesty and sharing your own fears. I myself worry for my teenage son and wonder if we are making the right choice in sending him back to school.

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