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Back to school amidst a pandemic

By Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna

Pic by Lalith Perera

After a long break, we are all slowly getting back to our usual routines. Parents are going back to work and you have to go back to school. Some of us are very excited to go back to school and be among our friends after a long time. But, there are some of us who are a little panicked about going back to school. It is completely natural if you are feeling anxious about going back to school and participating in school and extracurricular activities. Starting school or starting a new school term can be stressful at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic. 

It is normal if you may feel nervous or reluctant to return to school, especially now that you have adjusted to a comfortable routine of e-learning or distance learning. You have been learning at home for months. Think of the time when the schools suddenly closed and we did not know what to do? We felt anxious and worried then too and it was a completely new situation for us to figure out. Going back to school is going to be much better than that. We are not going back to a completely new environment. We already know what it is like to be in school.

However, there will be some changes that you will notice when you are back in school. You may be asked to not sit in a group and also to wear protective clothing like masks. You may find it difficult being physically distanced from your teachers and your friends. Social distancing is very important as the threat of this global pandemic is still present. But always remember that there are other ways to bond and stay connected. Although you are physically distancing yourself from your friends and teachers, now you at least get to see them every day and learn new things with them. Look for fun ways to stay connected.

Make sure you stick to the safety measures while you are in school and while you are travelling. Your school has taken many measures to keep you safe and healthy. It is your responsibility to support them in maintaining it. You already know that you can help prevent germs from spreading by washing your hands with soap and by coughing or sneezing into your elbow.

Also, remember that your friends’ experiences during the curfew period might have been very different from yours. For some, it may have been a safe and enjoyable time. For others, it may have been challenging or traumatic. Sometimes there may be friends whose parents lost their job or had cut downs in their income. As a result, his or her family may be going through a tough time with economic hardships. This might even be you and your family. Be considerate when you talk to your friends so that you will not hurt their feelings. Do help them out in any small way you can.