Welcoming Students Back to School During & After School Closures

Welcoming Students Back to School During & After School Closures

Welcome Back to School, Students!

Someone once said, ”without teachers life would have no class.” In the age of school closures, hybrid, and remote learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this quote surely seems appropriate. As a teacher of K-12 students for the last year and a half, you know that your duties have gone way beyond your job description, as you wear many hats and play many roles that include coach, friend, therapist, and tutor.

So, when you welcome back your students after a school closure, what tips would be helpful to alleviate their fears and anxieties to make them feel more at home? To get more insight on what students and parents are dealing with, you can start with this Helping Your Child with Back to School Anxiety During Coronavirus lesson and read on to learn more about starting the school year off on the right foot.

A Warm Welcome Starts Right at the Door

Since you’re going to want your students to feel welcome and appreciated this year, why not greet them with a warm smile and a hello right at the door if instruction is being provided in person this semester? This simple act might:

  • Increase student engagement
  • Reduce unruly behavior
  • Set a positive tone

Asking Parents Questions

Since parents are most assuredly going to be asking you a lot more questions than normal at ”Back to School Night” this year, why not have a set of questions ready for them to help this process? Examples of questions you could ask include:

  • How can we get your child to not mind wearing a mask each day?
  • What are some things you can do at home to prepare your child for class?
  • What can I do to make you feel more comfortable sending your child to my classroom?
  • What can you as parents do to add value to my classroom teachings this year?
  • What does your child enjoy most about coming to school each day?

Masks, Masks, Masks!

Now, there is no masking the fact (pun intended) that students are going to love wearing masks about as much as you announcing a surprise math quiz. One thing you can do is try to make the entire process sort of a fun game. Since children all the way from kindergarten through high school love superheroes, you can remind them that many of their favorite action stars wear masks too.

You can even have contests and allow your students to design their own superhero masks. If that doesn’t strike their fancy, children could create face masks with animals on them. Some students are even designing masks that look like their own faces!

The Elephant in the Room

Let’s move right on to the unavoidable subject! Regardless of whether children are returning to school online or in person, they are going to want to talk about the coronavirus. Should you talk about the pandemic with children? This decision will probably end up being determined by each school district. If you are allowed, be candid with your students and address any pressing concerns. You are probably going to spend a lot of extra time talking to parents too, as the latter will want to be reassured that their children are going to a safe and effective learning environment each day.

Discipline and Structure: More or Less?

When your students begin classes via distance learning or in person, at first your tendency may be to go easier on them because of all that they have been through this year. However, you may find that you will want to actually be a bit more disciplined and structured in your classroom. Students may test your limits and see what they can ”get away with” due to a relaxed atmosphere.

Getting Along With Other Teachers

When you welcome students back to school, as a teacher you will want to set a fine example of someone who is calm and in complete control. In that case, it is a good idea to avoid getting into arguments with other teachers about the coronavirus.

After all, every educator is going to have differing opinions about the state of affairs of the world and what is the best way to ”cure” them. A better option would be to meet with fellow teachers and ask the question, ”how can we all work together this school year to make life better for all of our students?”

Make a Video

This is the digital age, so making a ”Welcome Back” video won’t be too difficult for you if you can’t meet with students and parents in person. You can then share it online where everyone can view it. Don’t forget to mention the coronavirus pandemic and how you will make adjustments to allow for a positive experience this school year.

Online Extracurricular Activities

Lastly, you are going to want the students to get involved as much possible in your school, but they aren’t going to be allowed to meet in large groups. One great idea is to hold online extracurricular activities. See what creative ways students, parents, and teachers can work together to design fun concepts.

Supplemental Learning

A large concern among teachers and parents is how prepared students will feel coming back to the classroom after remote learning. Some subjects may have been more difficult for some students to stay on track and make progress in their studies. As part of welcoming back students, more thorough assessments on where students are at with each subject can help you understand which students need help the most.

One way to promote learning and help students get caught up is with supplemental online tutoring and learning opportunities. For example, in science and math, students can brush up on introductory biology or algebra topics.

You can also recommend tutoring for students such as a math tutoring service and engage parents in the conversation to get their student up to speed.

The start of the school year – especially after Covid closures – is a great time to assess your students and provide supplemental learning opportunities.

Lesson Summary

Welcoming students back to school after a school closure can be a tense situation, but with some positive strategies and tactics you can make it a good year for your students. It is not a bad idea to greet each student with a smile and a greeting at your classroom door if you’ll be teaching classes in person. If permitted, talk frankly with students about the coronavirus. Compile a list of questions to help parents with this transition back to school. Try to make wearing masks a fun experience for the students. Consider having slightly more discipline and structure this school year, and set a good example by not arguing with other teachers. Finally, also consider making a ”Welcome Back” online video and holding online extracurricular activities for students.

Resource from Study.com

Helping Your Child with Back to School Anxiety During Coronavirus

How Do I Help My Child Cope With Anxiety?

Author Karen Salmansohn once wrote ”no amount of anxiety can change the future.” Indeed, these words certainly seem applicable to the coronavirus pandemic as we all struggle with the prospect of the upcoming school year, regardless of whether students will learn in a brick-and-mortar setting or remain home and learn remotely.

And if parents are anxious and fearful of what lies ahead, just imagine what is going through our children’s minds!

However, children can be stronger and more adaptable than we think sometimes. Therefore, it is up to us to instill in them both confidence and self-efficacy so they can cope with anxiety and make the most of their educations.

Identifying Anxiety

To start with, if you’re going to help your child cope with anxiety, you must first identify the condition. The lesson titled What Is Anxiety? – Definition, Symptoms & Causes goes into greater detail, but some initial signs to look for include:

  • Bursting into tears for no apparent reason
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Clinginess
  • Headaches
  • Lack of concentration
  • Negative comments
  • Quickness to anger
  • Restlessness
  • Stomachaches

Preparation Tips

For students who are nervous about on-site school, rehearse the trip to school by walking the actual route a couple of times or driving the school bus route with your student. If your teen drives to school, allow them to traverse the route and even find a parking space. Go over where your child will hang their coat, where they will eat lunch, and when they will be allowed to use the restroom.

For students who are nervous about online school, design a schedule so they can actually ”see” what is going to happen during the week. Before you even start, use Skype or Zoom to do a practice run to make them feel more comfortable with software used by their school.

People tend to fear the unknown, so by addressing as many variables as possible, you can reduce the entire family’s anxiety to manageable levels. Further, you can gently guide kids through an anxiety-producing situation by telling a ”social story”, which explains how things will take place. Don’t be afraid to be honest with children and ask if they have any questions or pressing concerns that are bothering them.

Multi-tasking Versus Mono-tasking

Have you ever witnessed your child studying while they were simultaneously watching television, typing on a laptop, and talking on a cellphone to a friend? Admittedly this talent is impressive, but some scientific research now suggests multi-tasking can cause a host of negative side effects, including anxiety, fuzzy thinking, and even IQ drops.

On the other hand, mono-tasking involves doing only one task at a time until it is completed. Studies suggest this methodology can actually result in reduced anxiety, sharper thinking, and increased concentration levels. Whether your student is learning entirely from home or tackling homework after school, encourage your children to focus on one task at a time.

Meditation and Mindfulness

Sometimes it’s not so easy to just tell others to relax and not be anxious. If that is the case, meditation and mindfulness may be the ticket to help you and your child deal with the stressors of the coronavirus outbreak. Mindfulness is based on the concept of ”living in the moment” as well as being aware and conscious of things around you.

One simple mindfulness exercise to help your student relax involves squeezing and releasing each muscle in the body. They hold each muscle tight for a few seconds and then move on to the next one. Additionally, instead of rushing through their next meal and looking at their cellphone while eating, they could chew slowly and enjoy the experience, observing and smelling their food first, and taking a few seconds between each bite.

They can also meditate with their eyes open, half-closed, or closed. Advise them to sit with as little stress as possible on the body and avoid letting their mind race back to all the stressors of the day. Instead, they can focus on a pleasant spot like a quiet beach setting.


While there are many choices for exercise that may reduce anxiety, many experts believe any aerobic exercise that elevates the heart rate is an ideal choice. Help your child aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise at least three times per week. Good choices include:

  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Jogging
  • Swimming

Still another option for reducing anxiety is a series of yoga poses. Make sure your student starts out with the beginner poses first and doesn’t push to the point of injury.


Which music is right for you and your children to reduce anxiety? That’s not an easy question to answer because everyone’s mind and body are unique, and when it comes to music everyone has personal tastes. However, many scientists feel certain songs are more relaxing and soothing than others. Two popular suggestions include ”Weightless” by Marconi Union and ”Electra” by Airstream. Many people respond well to classical or jazz music, and it is probably best to avoid fast-paced music with heavier beats. Still another choice is to listen to soothing music with the sounds of ocean waves, waterfalls, or rain added in the background.

Don’t Try to Navigate Anxious Waters Alone

The last thing you want to aim for during these troubled times is to try and go it alone, as trying to do too much will almost certainly increase your own anxiety levels. After all, in the computer age you have plenty of social media connections to stay in touch with others. You will want to stay connected with your children, other parents, teachers, physicians, and other people in your community. Remember, they are feeling anxious and stressed too.

Seeking Professional Help

If all else fails, there is absolutely no shame in a child (or parents) seeking professional help for dealing with excessive anxiety. If you are sheltered in place at home, the burgeoning field of telepsychiatry may be something to consider. Before the school year even gets underway, it might not be a bad idea to go online and learn about some of your telehealth options for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Resource from Study.com

How to Get Ready for School

Getting into a routine of preparing for school the day and night before makes getting up and getting ready in the morning much easier. Getting ready for school doesn’t just involve waking up and getting dressed. It also includes getting your assignments done, organizing your school supplies, and having a good attitude as you start the day. By preparing in advance, you’ll have more time in the mornings to sleep in or eat breakfast, and you won’t be as rushed or stressed so your school days will always be off to a good start.


Preparing the Night Before

  1. Pick out your clothes. If you pick out your clothes the night before, you’ll save yourself a lot of time in the morning. Choose clothes that you’ll feel comfortable in throughout the day. If it’s cold out, remember to select layers so that you can put on a jacket or sweater if you need to.

    • If you wear a uniform to school, you can still lay it out so that you’ll know where it is and can be sure you have a clean uniform ready to go.
    • Make sure your clothes fit within any dress code that your school may have.
    • Lay the clothes out on a chair or dresser so that you can find them easily.
  2. Take a shower. Showering every day is part of good hygiene. By showering at night, you wash away any sweat or dirt that’s accumulated during the day. You’ll wake up feeling fresh and ready to go, and you won’t need to spend time showering in the morning.

    • If you need to do something to your hair at night, make sure to take care of this, as well. Some people sleep in curlers or tie their hair up in a rag at night.
    • Make sure to also brush your teeth and take care of any other matters of personal hygiene as well.
  3. Pack your backpack. Double check that all of your books and homework are in your backpack. There’s nothing worse than getting to school and realizing that you’ve left a permission slip or an assignment at home. Look through all of your papers and your calendar to make sure you have what you need.

    • You can ask your parents to double check your backpack and make sure you didn’t forget anything. Sometimes they might be able to help you remember something that you forgot.
  4. Set your alarm clock. Make sure you set your alarm clock to when you want to wake up. Allow 10-15 minutes more than you think you need for your morning routine. This will ensure that you have plenty of time and can get ready without feeling rushed.

    • If you’re used to pushing the snooze button a lot, you’ll want to set your alarm clock for even earlier, to allow for some snoozing.
    • Check to make sure that your alarm clock works before you rely on it!


Getting Ready in the Morning

  1. Wake up. This one is often more easily said than done. Try your best to get up when your alarm first goes off. Get out of bed as soon as you can. This will help your body and mind to wake up and will help you avoid falling back to sleep.
    • It is better for your level of alertness to wake up after the initial alarm goes off. Using the snooze feature doesn’t help you wake-up.
  2. Eat breakfast. Eating breakfast helps you wake up and feeds your brain with energy for your day of school. Try to eat something packed with protein and some complex carbohydrates to keep your energized until lunch.

    • Morning protein sources can be eggs, breakfast meats, yogurt, or milk or a milk alternative like soy or almond milk.
    • Reach for whole grain toast or cereal such as oatmeal or muesli. Fruit is packed with fiber, which is important to a healthy diet as well.
    • There are many breakfasts that you can make in large batches at night and freeze for quick reheating in the morning.
  3. Practice good hygiene. Brush your teeth well and floss if that’s part of your routine. You can also wash your face, brush your hair, and do anything else that’s part of getting ready to start your day.[7]

    • Some people wear makeup or put products in their hair before school.
    • If you wear contacts or a retainer, you may need to have special routines dedicated to cleaning and putting in those items.
  4. Get dressed. Put on the clothes that you laid out the night before. Look in the mirror to make sure that everything looks right. You can make adjustments if you need to, but don’t get caught up creating a whole new outfit. You’ll start to run behind.
    • Check the weather when you get up. You may need to pack an extra sweater or a raincoat if there’s bad weather that you didn’t plan for.
  5. Take everything you need. Hopefully, you’ve already assembled your backpack full of necessities and either packed a lunch or prepared to buy lunch. Gather what you need and double check that you have everything.[9]

    • It can be helpful to designate one place in your house where you keep your backpack, lunchbox, coat and shoes. That way, you have everything in one place in the morning.
    • Check with your parents to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
  6. Head out the door. You might be getting a ride, walking, or catching a bus (local or school). However you get to school, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there. You can’t control if the bus is late, but you can control whether you’re on time to catch the bus.

    • If you woke up 10-15 minutes before you absolutely needed to, you should have a little extra time.

    Resource From WikiHow

2021 WASSCE: Concludes arrangements as 1.6m candidates register

No fewer than 1.6 million candidates are expected to participate in this year’s West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) scheduled to begin on Aug. 16.

The Head of National Office (HNO) of West African Examination Council (WAEC), Mr Patrick Areghan, gave the figure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos.

Areghan said that the council was working day and night toward accommodating some schools still bothering it with late registration.

He said that the development was taking its toll on the council’s operations.

Areghan said ahead of the conduct of the 2021 WASSCE, the council was working with relevant stakeholders to ensure a hitch-free WASSCE for school candidates, in spite of some challenges.

“As I have always said, conducting examination is not a tea party. It is a huge task and requires collaboration of all critical stakeholders, including the media.

“It requires a lot of preparations and even more, especially in the face of the rising cases of insecurity and the resurgence  of  Coronavirus pandemic in the country.

“In conducting this examination, we also want to ensure that the lives of all those involved, including council’s staff, and materials are properly secure.

“Our arrangement for the successful conduct of our upcoming examination, therefore, is in top gear as we are ensuring that we do not leave any stone unturned,” he said.

Areghan noted that examination conduct required money and other resources.

According to him, the entire process of conducting the examination – from the printing of examination materials, distributing them and ensuring security, to the recruitment of ad-hoc staff and printing certificates –  is a huge financial burden.

Areghan gave the assurance that WAEC would continue to do all it could to stay afloat.

”It is what the council has been doing, and we want to ensure we continue in that excellent tradition.”

He noted that the West African School Certificate was internationally accepted and required protection of its integrity.

ALSO READ: WAEC guards reputation; says exam leakages not from them

”Therefore, in order not allow anything reduce that standard, we shall be collaborating with the federal and state ministries of health and education as well as the police and other security agencies.

”This is in a bid to ensure that all precautionary measures are in place before, during and after the examination,” Areghan said.

The HNO said that WAEC members had been meeting to fine-tune strategies that would ensure hitch-free conduct of the examination.

He urged schools and candidates to get themselves well prepared ahead of the examination, warning that the council would not tolerate any acts capable of undermining the integrity of the examination.

”There is no hiding place for cheats.

“We want to warn schools, students and even supervisors and invigilators that there will be no hiding place for anyone who tries to go against laid down rules for the conduct of this examination.

“We will surely catch that person, no matter where the malpractice is being carried out.

“We have in-built mechanisms to detect every act of cheating; cheats, when caught, will not get their results.

“Even if you cheat in our objective test, we will catch you, using technology. This technology is called the Item Deferential Profile; it has been there for quite sometime,” he said.

The HNO advised parents not to indulge their children and wards in cheating in examinations by providing money to source for the questions from fraudsters.

ALSO READ: No more late registration from 2022, WAEC warns

”We have carried out a lot of sensitisation, reaching out to parents not to give money to their children in an attempt to patronise rogue website operators and other mischievous individuals, who promise to help get to WAEC questions for them, before the examination.

“There is nothing like that. Some even go as far as saying WAEC normally posts questions on the internet.

“This is laughable and misleading. We have tried as much as possible to enlighten the world that there is nothing like ‘miracle centre’.

“This is a creation of the society and not the council.

“It may be existing in their subconscious but does not exist in our dictionary,” he said.

According to him, there has been no episode of leakage of council’s examination questions in Nigeria since the last, many years ago.

He said that what some sections of the public referred to as leakage during conduct of WASSCE, was the work of internet fraudsters, who registered and sat with genuine candidates in the hall.

“They are served the examination papers, they pretend to be writing the examination, while they manage to snap the questions in collaboration with their mercenaries outside.

“But these days, they no longer snap the questions; rather, they connive with some unscrupulous supervisors and invigilators, who help them to snap the questions, using their own handsets, and send, after which the fraudsters put the questions on the internet.

“These same supervisors allow some candidates into the halls with handsets, even when they know it is against the law, all because they have been compromised.

“However, the various ministries of education have been doing a great job in this respect, as they have been taking drastic measures on those found culpable, by either sacking outrightly or demotion,” he said.

The HNO warned that WAEC  would not hesitate to hand any suspect over to the police.

“We have a way of detecting those posting these things to the internet and go after them; that is why we always need the collaboration of the police,” Areghan said.


Vanguard News Nigeria

WAEC guards reputation; says exam leakages not from them

The West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) has indicated that it is guarding its reputation jealously and will always ensure that the credibility of its examination is always intact.

This comes after investigations by Education Think Tank, Africa Education Watch, revealed recently that question papers for the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) by WAEC were leaked to candidates.

The Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, on the sidelines of unveiling the report, indicated question papers were sent from WAEC’s IT department to other online platforms which were subsequently forwarded to his outfit by a member on the platform.

But Miss Veronica Asante, Controller of Private Candidates Examination Administration Department (PCEAD) at WAEC has denied the claims, saying the claim by Education Watch was factually inaccurate.

Speaking on TONTON SANSAN on TV XYZ, Madam Asante argued that the students complained that the supposed “apor” did not appear in the exams, adding that even if some of the questions leaked, it never came from WAEC.

Despite the research institution insisting that some parents were asked by handlers of the platform to pay some amount of money for their wards to get access to the questions and answers, Miss Asante stated their officials are people with integrity.

“Our officers are people of high integrity so there is no way they will leak examination questions,” Miss Asante added.

Assuring Ghanaians of tackling the malpractices, Madam Asante disclosed that “nine supervisors were arrested, prosecuted and jailed during last year’s BECE for examination malpractices.”

Reported from: Ghana Web

No more late registration from 2022, WAEC warns

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) says late registration of candidates by schools for its West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) would no longer be allowed, beginning from 2022.
The Head of National Office (HNO) of WAEC, Mr Patrick Areghan, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.

Areghan spoke against the backdrop of late registration of candidates by some schools in an alleged bid to shop for external candidates.
The HNO warned that there would be no going back on deadlines set by the council for registration of school candidates, henceforth.

According to him, there is a need for school owners to respect deadlines for uploading their candidates’ details for the examination.
He said that late registration was a major challenge to the council.
”Late registration makes preparations very cumbersome. On the contrary, we do not experience the same during examinations for private candidates.
”This year, we opened our portal for registration of candidates on Feb. 5, to close on May 16; that is a three-month interval.
”We later extended it to May 31, but due to activities of defaulters, we kept shifting the goalpost until the end of June. This is July and as of the 15th, these stragglers were still calling for more extension.

”These are people who will not do the needful within the given period; this will no longer be tolerated, no matter the explanation advanced,” he warned.

The WAEC boss noted that there was a Federal Government policy on education which stated that no school should enroll external candidates for WASSCE for schools.

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