SARATOGA and WARREN COUNTY — The beginning of every school year comes with a degree of uncertainty for students. As Mitch and Tiasha prepared their three children to return to their classrooms in Glens Falls, they packed their backpacks with pencils and erasers, but also purchased extra hand sanitizer and face masks.
“After snack I wash my hands and use hand sanitizer anyway,” said Gianni, who isn’t bothered by having to take extra safety precautions.
Mitch and Tiasha’s children, like many across the country, spent the last school year in a virtual classroom interacting with other students and teachers only via computer screen. Going back to in-person learning with potential restrictions has created unique challenges.
“As students prepare to return, they will be facing a host of intensified challenges,” said Anthious Boone, an elementary school principal in Pennsylvania. He cited numerous difficulties, including the need for students to learn to socialize with peers after a period of extended isolation.
But parents can help to prepare their children for what may be a tough transition.
“As parents endeavor to help their children cope with potential back-to-school anxiety,” Boone said, “it is absolutely imperative that they stay well-connected with both the school and their children.”
Mitch said he wants his kids to follow procedures the school is implementing. Tiasha added, “We have a nice rapport with the principal and teachers. The school communicates regularly with the parents as things are constantly being updated.”
While coronavirus variants have stoked pandemic anxieties, Mitch and Tiasha are alert to other challenges their children may face. The family engages in activities throughout the week. Thursday evenings are set aside as family time when they address topics relevant to their specific needs and interests as they arise. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, they look for practical Bible-based advice to help with any issues or concerns.
One of their favorite resources is jw.org, the official website of the Jehovah’s Witnesses that is free to all. Topics like “What’s a Real Friend?” and “Beat a Bully Without Using Your Fists” are addressed there in a video series for young people. The whiteboard animated video “Beat a Bully Without Using Your Fists” can be found at the following link: www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/teenagers/whiteboard-animations/beat-a-bully-without-using-your-fists/