COVID-19 Resources


Everyone is nervous before a new school year, some more than others. Back to school anxiety may be greater than ever due to COVID-19 and all the unknowns for this upcoming school year. Let your child know that having butterflies is normal and soon enough he or she will settle into their new routine. In the meantime, try these tips to lessen their anxiety (and yours) and get your child excited for the new school year!

1. Communicate with your Child
The most important thing is communication. Whether your school will be in person or virtual, ask your child to share any fears or worries and encourage open discussions about this upcoming school year. Let them know this year will look different from prior years. Talk to them about what those differences are for your school including lunch, recess, before school line up, extracurricular activities, classroom setup, social distancing, etc. Let them know that things may change throughout the school year but you will work together. Encourage them to discuss any fears or apprehensions with you. This can help ease their anxieties.

2. School Visit
A great way to ease a student’s mind is to schedule a school and classroom visit before the first day of school. Although this year it may not be possible to do this in person the district can schedule a videoconference and virtually tour the school and find their classroom, desk, etc. Contact the school and ask to schedule a visit even if it is virtual. Check your school’s website for already scheduled orientations or open houses.

3. Meet the Teachers
Teachers are generally more than willing to take some time before school opens to meet students and their parents. Most school districts require staff to be present at the school prior to the students’ first day. This is a great opportunity to schedule your meet and greet, which may be done virtually. Another option is to review the teacher’s website if a meet and greet is not possible. Students will feel better putting a face to the name. If your child has an IEP or 504 Plan, this is a great chance to introduce yourself and your child. Elementary school teachers sometimes send home “welcome letters” over the summer. Take the time to read this letter with your child.

4. Playdates with Classmates
Schedule a virtual playdate with a student who will be in your child’s class. This will give your child some security knowing they have someone to talk to or play with throughout the day. Being with a familiar face is always comforting.

5. Get Organized
Before school starts, review that long supply list and start to organize with your child. If possible, set up binders, folders and sharpen pencils. Technology is essential this year so make sure you have what your child needs and contact your school district to find out what they are providing or can provide to assist you. Finally, review any IEP or 504 Plan accommodations with your child, as appropriate.

6. Set Up a Virtual Classroom
At home, designate an office/classroom area for your child’s virtual learning that is free from distractions, but not isolated from parental oversight. Let your child organize his or her materials, decorate and make their office/classroom comfortable so he or she is ready and motivated. Try to mimic their classroom to reduce the amount of disruption and distractions. This may include a spot for their water bottle, snack, lunch etc. so your kids don’t roam around the house. Create a daily class schedule and a calendar where all important due dates and events can be kept. Start with writing the first day of school so they can count down and be prepared.

7. Return to a Routine
Start to ease into your school year routine. We all know that going to sleep late and sleeping in is the best part of summer, so take some time to get back to the school night sleep schedule and routine. Plan an early bedtime, set an alarm, wake up early and get dressed. It is important to keep this routine even if learning is virtual. Talk to your child and work on new rules that will be established in schools as a result of COVID-19 such as handwashing, wearing a mask and social distancing. Establishing a school routine and reviewing the rules is a key component to back to school success.

8. Be Prepared
Start the year off on the right foot. Get all summer homework done and packed into the backpack, or stacked on the virtual classroom desk, well before the first day of school. Be ready to have a great school year!

This will be a unique experience for everyone. Be flexible and work with your school and teachers to make this a positive school year!

With over 25 years’ combined experience, the members of the Price, Meese, Shulman & D’Arminio, P.C. EDUCATION LAW GROUP offer virtual consultations to assist families with any and all educational needs.

The author, Michelle Krone, is an attorney who focuses her practice in Education Law and Trusts and Estates.