Middle - Welcome Back
Email Header

September 9, 2020
Middle School
Welcome Back ...

....We Missed You!
This summer provided a brief period to catch our breath, and as we enter September return-to-school plans across BC are in motion. All School Districts and schools have been coordinating complex schedules, managing teacher, student, staff and community safety, and distributing resources. 
We recognize that planning for the start of the school year has been a stressful time for parents as there has been a lot of uncertainty and unknowns related to schooling during the pandemic.  We hope that this Snapshot will serve to support you in these challenging back to school times! 
Greater Victoria School District Parent Survey Results: most of the 13,400 families that responded approved of in-class learning. Click on photo to watch the video (CTV Island News, Sept. 2, 2020)

While B.C. has announced a return to
in-class instruction under Stage 2 for September 2020, school districts must have the necessary plans in place to be able to shift between stages if and when required. Below is how you can expect middle school to function in Stage 2. 
Full Image
For information on the Hybrid considerations please refer to the FAQ below. 
How to Support a Successful Return to School
Every parent and family have had to make their own decision about which back to school plan works best for their child. Whenever we enter a new situation which is filled with unknown variables, anxiety is a predictable reaction. What we do know for sure is that every school in the Greater Victoria School District has a plan for each child‘s education and safety. Here are some tips from Kelty Mental Health that can support you in managing some of your worry:
Focus on what you can control. Gather information from your child‘s school. Take it week by week. See below for frequently asked questions and answers. 

Greater Victoria School District FAQ's

We have compiled a series of questions that are being commonly asked by our families. This resource is intended to provide greater clarification on a variety of topics, including: Hybrid Learning, Immune Suppression, etc. 
Click here to download the document 
Practice. Preparation will help you feel confident before the first day of school.
Figure out daily routines including sleep.  Practice the walk/drive to the school, mask wearing, and getting materials ready

Take steps to manage your own anxiety. Talk to a friend. Take slow, calming breaths. Don‘t hesitate to reach out for support.
Communicate confidence with your child. “The teachers and schools have done a good job to make sure that school is safe.”  “You might feel a bit nervous at first but you will feel so much better after you‘ve gone to school the first day.”  “New things are hard but I know how brave you are.” 

How to Support Your Child

We have heard from many students that they are ready to get back to school to see their friends and teachers, have fun learning, and benefit from a structured daily routine.  Just like the adults in their lives, children also experience their own worries about what school will look and feel like this fall. 

Children take their cues from the adults in their lives as to how they can best navigate their concerns. These tips from Child Mind Institute can help you support your kids as they prepare for their return to school:
Validate their feelings. It‘s important for parents to stay calm and stay positive. If your child is telling you that they‘re worried or having negative feelings, you want to validate that and let them have some space to express it. But you don‘t want to feed it too much and you want to help them think of something they can do about it. If your child is struggling a little bit, or they say they miss you, that‘s okay, You might consider saying, ``I miss you too, and I‘m so proud of you for going to school.'
Set the tone. Experts agree that the most important thought about going back to school is that parents lead the charge. If you lead with your own anxiety, you‘re only going to fuel anxiety, so you want to say what you know, answer questions and act calm even when you are not. If children have questions you can‘t answer, you can say, “That‘s a really good question. I am not sure, but I can find out the answer to that question, let‘s start a list with questions we have.” Kids appreciate knowing what you‘re doing to manage to the situation and also what they can do, so working together to ask and answer questions can help them stay calm.

Help them Think Positive. One way to help kids focus on positive things is to try to get them to talk about the good things about school. What are they looking forward to? What did they enjoy the previous day?
Tips to Support Your Child's Emotional Well-Being
yd2 yd2 yd2

Support Safe Ways to See their Friends

While communication technology has been a welcome asset for many adolescents since the pandemic began, a recent survey found that 61 percent of teenagers reported feeling more lonely as a result of the pandemic.

Given that adolescents cannot, at present, count on hanging out with peers during the school day, we should make sure that they still have ways to see their friends.

Unfortunately, teens often fall short when following social distancing guidelines. They may need supervision or guidance, such as having them meet outdoors or wearing masks when appropriate.

Establish Routines

Routines are the best way to ensure that critical needs get met. They are good for everyone, including teenagers. A reliable daily schedule with designated time for learning, leisure, physical activity and sleep promotes overall
well-being and reduces the stress of making plans
on the fly.

Going to school forces students into routines that usually keep them busy, growing and active. In contrast, during the unstructured time of weekends and summers young people are more likely to use screens, be sedentary, eat poorly and fall into irregular sleep patterns. 

Connection at Home

Remember your teenager‘s mood on the roughest day they had at school before the pandemic began? Now imagine a day like that on top of the emotional wear and tear of living under pandemic conditions for six months or more. It‘s probably smart to expect a bumpy ride.

Research shows that strong, supportive relationships at home help young people to manage and even thrive in the face of persistently difficult circumstances. Having parents who are kind, patient and predictable can help teenagers buffer the chronic stress of living under Covid-19.
yd2 yd2 yd2
Remember that teenagers often want nothing more than our quiet and steady presence, even when they are in the midst of an emotional meltdown. 

Try to compassionately normalize the difficulty of this time for teenagers and resist the impulse to fire off solutions and suggestions when they have a problem. Finally, do your best to take excellent care of yourself so that you‘ll have the energy you‘ll need to take care of your teenager.  (New York Times, 2020)
Full Image
Resources and References
Full Image