The start of a new school year is always an exciting time, brimming with the promise of new beginnings and new opportunities. It is especially true this year after several months of virtual learning from home. Students once again get to interact with classmates after a long break, meet their new teachers, and have a fresh start with new classes and classroom environments.
In addition to all the usual emotions felt when a new school year begins, students, teachers, and other school staff members may be feeling anxious or uncertain about the return to in-person classes. This year, teachers were asked to quickly adjust to new conditions and procedures, all while protecting the health of their students and themselves. Despite the challenges this virus presents to our schools, students and school staff have been working hard to adapt to changes and keep each other safe.
Obviously the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the logistics of school this year. From developing lesson plans that fit with hybrid class schedules to reutilizing rooms and putting up sanitation stations, teachers, support staff, and administrative staff have been working tirelessly to make schools as safe as possible for all. While protective measures such as masks and plexiglass dividers may feel restrictive, our teachers have been finding many creative ways to keep students’ minds and bodies active, such as taking classes outside.
Teachers have the great responsibility of keeping our children safe, educating them, supporting them, and helping to prepare them for the rest of their lives. These are not small tasks, especially during a pandemic. I am greatly appreciative of all the individuals who are working hard every day to create safe environments for students to learn and grow. Their efforts and innovation have not gone unnoticed.
I am also continually impressed by how well students have been adapting to the many changes that were implemented to help keep their schools healthy. In these difficult times, the students are constant reminders of what it means to choose hope and open-mindedness over fear and frustration. They have been patient and understanding as the adults in charge altered their routines and changed the way day-to-day interactions take place. It is inspiring to see our children respond to complicated circumstances with such maturity.
It is reassuring to know that amid these unprecedented challenges, students, teachers, school support staff, and school administrators have risen to the occasion and are determined to keep our communities safe. I am immensely thankful for their hard work and resilience, and I will continue to do all I can to advocate for our schools.
None of this has been easy, but by continuing to work together, listen to public health experts, and practice compassion, we can all get through it.