As we continue to combat the health crisis and navigate the unorthodox and at times disorganized COVID-19 vaccination roll-out, many parents are wondering what the future holds. For months, parents of school-aged children have been faced with extreme pressure. As we are sure you are acutely aware, some are coping with the emotional toll of having lost a loved one to COVID-19. Some are dealing with chronic symptoms after their own recovery, or are juggling telework schedules while supervising children who are receiving remote or hybrid curriculums. Others are navigating job loss or substantial income depletion, waiting for stimulus money to make ends meet.
A lot remains uncertain – including that magical date when parents can anticipate sending their kids back to a safe, normal in-person school setting. While our guess is as good as yours with fluctuating federal and state guidelines, no concrete plans for children to receive vaccinations, and new virus strains popping up, we’d like to help you assist parents as they navigate COVID-19 remote-learning fatigue. These times are not without moments of overwhelming emotion and frustration, but we believe together we can support our communities to remain strong, safe, and successful!
Keep Communication Open
If we’ve learned one thing about living in a pandemic, it’s that information is constantly changing and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. Take one extra weight off of a parent’s shoulders by removing the guesswork from the unique remote-learning model your school has established. Make sure that your school website is updated frequently to avoid confusion or misinformation. Consider establishing a weekly newsletter or text alert system to enable families to review changes that are coming so they have time to prepare and keep their kids in the loop. Ensure that teachers and other relevant school staff members are connecting with parents, especially if they have concerns about a particular student’s ability to keep up with assignments or activities. While this arrangement has stripped away much of the reliable consistency of a “normal” academic year, you can still set students and parents up for success by regularly communicating plans.
Provide Free Resources
We know that many school systems are dealing with stretched budgets and financial challenges as adjustments to adhere to safety policies and procedures have cut into funding. We also know that parents still rely on your educators to help them make sense of the remote learning model. Maybe a household has a range of kids, from pre-k to college-aged students, all trying to learn under the same roof. What can you do to go above and beyond, to set your students up for success? Reach out to staff and brainstorm a list of favorite apps, websites, or digital resources you can compile to address parent’s needs. For your convenience, check out this short list of free, quality classroom resources for each grade band and subject area. Each tool has scored well on independent nonprofit Common Sense Media’s research-based ratings rubric. More importantly, each tool is something we think would work well given the unique circumstances of the pandemic.
To create a loving, ethically sound community, we need empathy to exist at the core of all of our actions and behaviors. We are all experiencing heightened stress and emotions, and while parents are tuning in to assisting their children, they need to feel supported, too. All educational policymakers should continue to come from a place of empathy for parents and caregivers, students, and teachers. Remember, parents aren’t trained teachers, and even trained educators are juggling teaching their students and sometimes their own children. Lean in to support families in any way you are able to during this unprecedented time. Maybe for your community, that looks like organizing a virtual book club, hosting virtual meditation or yoga classes, or recruiting the help of a professional therapist to host group sessions for struggling parents. Additionally, direct parents to reliable resources that can help them cope. Check out the Child Mind Institute’s supportive resources here, to remind them they aren’t alone.
By helping you to help the parents and caregivers in your student’s lives, we hope we are easing some of the daily pressure your dedicated staff members are up against. We admire and appreciate the endless commitment of Hudson Valley’s educators, and hope we can assist your future professional needs. Please don’t hesitate to contact our team members today to discuss how RBT can help your team succeed.