08 October 2020

Supporting Our Young People for the Return

Article by Mr Michael Timms

Supporting Our Young People for the Return

After months of remote learning and a range of COVID-19 restrictions, our young people will be returning to school routines, classrooms, classmates, teachers, expectations and, in some cases, even new school settings.

Amid the anticipation and excitement of returning to school, for some, leaving the home learning routine and environment may create anxiety for a range of reasons including: the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, the social distancing and hygiene measures in place, family circumstances related to health, grief associated with a recent loss; or economic circumstances.

To prepare and support students’ return to onsite learning and the classroom/school environment, you may like to consider the following tips:

6 Tips for the Return to Onsite Learning

Talk to your child about how they feel

  • It is important to encourage young people to discuss their feelings about returning to school.
  • If they feel anxious or worried, help them understand this is perfectly normal, and that you and their teachers are there to support them.
  • Although difficult, try not to share any anxiety you may be feeling with your child.
  • Bear in mind that your child may be returning to a pre-existing issue from before remote learning – for example, a bullying or relationship issue, or difficulty with school work or staff. Or they may just feel apprehensive about returning to the school social environment.
  • Try to give them a non-judgemental and supportive place to share any worries. Some young people may not always have the words to express their feelings, so try to find a way of bringing up the conversation without putting pressure on them – for instance when you’re going for a walk. This can help them to open up naturally and identify what they’re concerned about.

Support young people to understand the school procedures

  • Our school has been in touch to explain various procedures in place – such as entry points, break times and hand washing routines.
  • If you haven’t received this information or are unsure you should contact our school office.
  • It will be important for your child to understand social distancing, the wearing of face masks and hygiene rules and, importantly, why they are in place.
  • Read school communications with your child and make sure they are prepared and know what to expect when they arrive at school.

Familiarise yourself with school procedures

  • If you transport your child to/from school, you will need to know where and when to drop them off and pick them up, as well as what parts of the school you can access. Parents/Carers must continue to observe the directions of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer (ie. social distancing).
  • If your child travels to/from school independently, including on public transport, you should talk to your child about getting to and from school, including observing the directions of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer (ie social distancing, group gatherings, face masks).

End of day emotions

  • A school day can require a lot of self-regulation or compressed behaviour, which can lead to tired and emotional outbursts later on in the day.
  • Given the length of remote learning and new school safety procedures in place, these emotions may be hard to cope with when they return home.
  • It is a good idea to keep this in mind, and allow for some ‘letting off steam’ allowing young people to unwind – encourage an outdoor walk or other physical activity.

Stay informed

  • Given the long absence from school, there may be a period of readjustment. Studying and following rules are habits that will need to be relearnt.
  • Discuss and affirm familiar routines and school expectations regarding uniform, grooming, attendance and participation to help your child reconnect with their school community.
  • There may be fresh challenges for your child, from working with new classmates and teachers, to coping with their work and school expectations.
  • Try to stay informed about how they are getting on – but if you are concerned, contact the school office about speaking to the pastoral teacher/year level teacher.

Sleep and rest

  • Young people may have been getting used to some unusual hours during the remote learning period and that may have extended into the school holidays.
  • Make sure your child is getting a good night’s sleep for their return to school.
  • It might mean introducing some earlier bedtimes than they have had recently and limiting screen time.
  • A good night’s rest will help them cope with the return to school and the new routines they will be adapting to.

Another great resource to assist families in the transition back, is a special report provided by SchoolTV. This report presented by Dr Michael Carr-Greg (Child and Adolescent Psychologist), outlines specific information for parents/guardians on how to best support their child during this transition period.

Please click on the following link to view the report:


Michael Timms  Deputy Principal [Students]