Tips to Tackle the Covid-19 back to School Blues

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Covid-19 is about to celebrate its 2nd birthday. The Global pandemic has gone on for so long that it is difficult to remember what life looked like before all the Covid-19 restrictions were set in place. With this acceptance comes a new challenge; how do we go back to the lives we lived before? Most importantly, how do we prepare our children for the world outside after they have been locked in online classes for more than a year?

Some of us adults have children who have only known online classes and some others have children who have gotten so used to the online system that it unsettles them to think about going back to school in an environment interlaced with protocols and restrictions. With schools reopening in India from the month of October, how do we ensure that we tackle this dread to the best of our adult abilities? Here are some tips and tricks.

1. Transparency:

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Speak to your children like equals and trust them with vital information about their own personal safety. If you have the time and resources, do a little research with them on safety protocols and communicate your fears as a parent in a rational way. Children will then look to you for vital information and as parents, you can control the narrative in the most optimum way. This eliminates the potential of your children relying on classroom gossip or fake information in any way.

2. Have a plan and get your children to participate in the process:

Make a back to school plan that includes safety protocols, nutrition, mental breaks, distress signals and communication tools. Often, children find it hard to communicate with the adults in school because they do not know how to approach them. With a plan in place that children have helped formulate, they are better equipped to communicate their anxieties and enlist help whenever necessary.

3. Prepare for separation anxiety:

It is easy for children to find comfort in the safety of their homes under crucial circumstances. Going back to school after nesting indoors for more than a year can cause separation anxiety for both parents and children. Keep a little bit of familiarity alive by packing all their favourite meals for lunch and snack time. Write little notes of affirmation and keep a fun picture of you and your child in their school bags so they can go to their happy place mentally.

4. Prepare for behavioural changes:

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Children respond to tough situations by showing you what they’re feeling instead of telling you about it. Watch out for any slight change in behaviour and talk to them about it. It is normal for them to behave slightly more aggressively, or react in fear and present symptoms of anxiety. Worry not! All these changes are normal and can be tackled easily. If it persists, enlist the help of a specialist.

5. Create a Dos and Don’ts list:

It is important to have one in place so that your children know what you are okay with and what you are not okay with once they go back to school. For instance, it is important for them to know that they are no longer allowed to hug their classmates or even shake their hands in school. With constant reinforcement, you are preparing your child to preserve their safety as well as that of the others around them.

As parents, you may have had to cope with a lot during the pandemic. So don’t find it surprising if you are experiencing deep-seated anxiety instead of relief with schools reopening. Please take care of your own mental well being and look for parent groups that can pull you through this transition. If it is too much, do consult a specialist. You are not required to have all the answers and it’s completely okay to feel the stress of the moment.

However, rest easy knowing that things are getting better and schools are more flexible now more than ever about allowing parents and children to make decisions about their schooling experiences.

Class Saathi’s value in the post-pandemic academic world

A small boy and a girl wearing face masks with bags on their shoulders.
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We often confuse a child’s youth for their resilience. It is the year 2021 and a year and half into the global pandemic that forced the world to shift on its axis. While we have all lost precious time and experience to the pandemic’s siege, the one demographic that has had it worse, in terms of adaptation, is the student population.

Learning is an inherently social experience. While the prime objective of sending children to schools may be to improve their academic performances, there are other, very vital skills students pick up in school. Children learn to reason, to socialise, to validate their opinions and interact with a diverse range of people in their learning environment that sets the stage for their adulthood. Children have lost out on all these over the pandemic.

Experts believe that there is scope for this generation of learners to be more anxious and fear riddled than the ones before and it is only natural since they have experienced a catastrophe of such a global nature. With schools slowly reopening around the world, classrooms now look more like a view from a dystopian film set rather than a learning environment where children were previously required to sit in groups, have conversations with their friends and do activities that require them to verbally communicate and be close to each other.

A South Korea school opens classrooms with Covid protocols in place
A school in South Korea opens classrooms with Covid protocols in place

Images have surfaced of classrooms following the covid upgrade with each desk shielded by a plastic case, students required to wear masks and large gaps in seating arrangements to avoid crowding and milling. While we may understand why the safety nets have been placed, students may find this environment a stressful and scary one to be in. As mentioned previously, learning is an inherently social experience with many children fulfilling their social needs at school through their teachers and classmates. Now with the mandate requiring fewer conversations interpersonally and teachers cutting down on instructional time by using digital tools, how best can we make the current situation the most optimum one?

At TagHive, we have a solution to this problem! We make classroom solutions that don’t break covid mandates by also making it a fun and safe space for children to come and enjoy their learning. Here’s how:

1. Clickers for the student
Our clickers have been designed to gather student responses in real-time without any need for verbal communication. The idea is to gamify teaching in such a manner that students are excited about giving their responses through a toy-like clicker system while also creating value for learning.

Class Saathi clicker in a school in South Korea after schools reopened with Covid protocols
Our clicker in a school in South Korea after schools reopened with Covid protocols

2. Clickers for teachers
Teachers can save a lot of time and energy by using the teacher clicker as a regulator in conducting sessions. Teachers can use the clicker to manoeuvre through the desktop app from a distance. This reduces the amount of time teachers have to spend speaking; they can use it instead to conduct quizzes over the desktop app, engaging students and retaining student attention.

3. Reports
One key element that goes a miss with time being spent on covid protocols is report gathering. The new mandates are all physically and emotionally exhausting, leaving teachers with very little time to conduct quizzes and spot student lags quickly. With Class Saathi, teachers can gather real-time evidence of student performance in the classroom as the system records student responses to quizzes instantly. Teachers can review both individual and class performances and take corrective action instantly. We, thereby reduce the burden on teachers by taking away one very daunting task off their list!

Self-study report on Class Saathi mobile app
Self-study statistics by Class Saathi

4. Our features
Who says there needs to be a sacrifice of group time in class with all the covid mandates? Our desktop app has group project and quiz features that allow students to interact with each other without breaking any protocols. What’s even cooler is that students can use the clickers to give real-time feedback to their peers, making the classroom as interactive if not exactly interactive as before.

5. Our fully malleable system
Our product is so versatile that it can adapt to any environment seamlessly. The power of our system lies in how cleverly it has been designed to work in any system. The thought is to make classrooms a less stressful experience for both students and teachers and we have managed to deliver on these promises even with covid being a surprise guest in this mix.

Our prime objective is to make classroom interaction a happy experience for all involved. Now with the pandemic still at large, parents are worried about sending their children back to school with safety being a prime concern. Teachers are worried that the new protocols will distract students from their objectives and stress them out further. Administrators are worried that all the above responses compounded will reduce student performance. With Class Saathi, all these worries are eliminated simply because our system addresses all these concerns effectively while also ensuring that students continue to strive in their academics. For this reason, it has become a product of choice, especially in the post covid world, for schools in South Korea with over 750 schools trusting Class Saathi to keep students happy.

When schools in India are finally ready to re-open, we promise that our products will demand space in the learning environment. Want to see how? Mail us at [email protected] for a demonstration!