If you’re heading back to the classroom after months of remote learning during the pandemic, keep in mind that while much won’t have changed, school may look and feel different now. New health and safety protocols will likely be in place. And then there’s the fact that it may have been some time since you last shared a space with so many people who aren’t direct family members. Follow these tips to get yourself ready, both physically and mentally, for in-person learning.
Practice Your Routine
For those who have been remote all year so far, chances are you haven’t had to commute anywhere since the spring. Now, you’ll suddenly have to be up early enough to get ready and get to school. That means you won’t be able to eat cereal during first period, attend class in your pajama bottoms, or brush your teeth between lessons anymore.
Do yourself a favor and start gradually slipping back into your pre-pandemic routine the week before your first day of in-person learning. For example, if you’ll need to get up an hour earlier, start by setting your alarm ten minutes earlier one day—and then ten more minutes the next day, and so on—so that you’re not caught off-guard when you need to be up at 6 a.m again.
Prep Your PPE
In addition to the standard school supplies of #2 pencils, composition notebooks, and a graphing calculator, you’ll need to be sure to pack your PPE. Hand sanitizer is a given (stow it somewhere it’s always in reach) and, of course, you’ll need at least one mask. (If it’s cloth, the CDC recommends washing it at least daily.)
The JanSport Mask is lightweight, durable, and reusable. What’s more, it has convertible straps that can make it easy to adjust the fit—so you can balance comfort with safety—and a lanyard for hands-free carrying.
You probably haven’t used your school backpack in some time. Do yourself a favor and give it a good clean—and then the real work begins. Go through and organize your supplies, recycling, donating, or disposing of items you don’t need; making a list of the items you do need; and taking the time to arrange the remainder in a way that’s actually helpful. For example, you may want to get a Medium Accessory Pouch to store your PPE in when not in use, so that it’s always easy to find when you need it.
Set Up Your Video Background
You may be doing a mix of in-person and online classes, but even if you’re not, don’t disassemble your video call setup just yet. You might need it in the future. Instead, take the time to reorganize your space and arrange your background, if you haven’t already. It’s best to have your camera facing a wall, not a door, so that there aren’t surprises. Keep the space behind you relatively clear—a dresser covered with dirty clothes is probably more than you really want to share with your classmates, much less your teachers. And try to avoid having windows or other light sources behind you, to avoid being backlit.
Feeling stressed about the pandemic? These resources will help you keep calm.
By: Jessen O'Brien