Going back to school after a year of remote learning can be very stressful for kids and parents. It’s safe to say that this year has had its fair shares of highs and lows when it comes to our mental, physical, emotional and even developmental wellbeing. With the return to school just around the corner, never have parents had such mixed feelings about this simple question – Do you intend on having your child return to in-person learning? The answer may seem simple enough, but it’s so much more than that.  

Managing Anxiety for Children 

Many children who are heading back to class next month are facing unusual challenges. After a year of being at home amongst family, there’s a good chance that the return to school will trigger anxiety. A recent survey done by The Recovery Village indicated that 66% of parents say that their children reported feeling concerned or anxious about going back to school. During these unprecedented times, children see their parents as a “safe zone”. They’re used to having mom and dad reminding them to put their mask on, maintain distance from other people, sanitize your hands. This prompts children into questioning their safety outside of their home. 

Netsweeper’s onGuard platform leverages our AI-driven, advanced global categorization engine, to detect and assess harmful student behaviors and activity in real-time. By being able to identify when a child is at risk for mental health concerns, Netsweeper’s technology can help school safety leaders to mitigate any potential harmful activity. Providing students with devices that have onGuard filtering will provide deeper insights of how children are feeling and monitoring their online activity to keep them safe during the sudden transition from remote learning to in-person.       

Managing Anxiety for Educators 

Adapting and preparing for the return to school will not be an easy task for educators. Not only do they have to worry about their pupils transitions back to school and learning how to support them, but they also must worry about how to manage their own anxiety from virtual classrooms to in-person classrooms. A survey conducted by the Education Week Research Center reported that 19 percent of teachers surveyed said that they were currently thinking of quitting due to pandemic-related concerns.  

The beginning of the school year can be very exciting for teachers. But because of COVID-19, the anticipation of meeting students for the first time has become more nerve-racking. Teachers need to prioritize their well-being so that they can recharge and teach properly. Here are some tips on how to manage your worries and fears so teacher can give it their best professionally: 

  • Recognizing Warning Signs: If you’re having physical signs such as stomach issues or mental signs such as avoidance, address them right away. Rather than ignoring them, think of what is causing your school-related anxiety, and implement strategies to overcome them. 
  • Manage Your Feelings: When feeling anxious or overwhelmed, use a technique that helps you relax and make quality time for yourself. These could include exercising, journaling, talking to a friend, etc. 
  • Be Prepared: If your anxious about having a bunch of students in your classroom and are concerned with keeping them and yourself safe from COVID, prepare your classroom with hygiene posters, social distancing rules, etc. 

Managing Anxiety for Parents 

Most parents’ initial responses to their kids going back to school is “hooray!” Working remotely, while being on top of their children’s lessons and homework is exhausting. The work-life balance is totally thrown off and there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. Needless to say, sending kids back to school sounds like a terrific idea – but hold on we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Apart from the worry of contracting COVID-19, parents are also fearful of their children’s mental health and overall wellbeing. Coping with new surrounding and people after a year of remote learning can be challenging. Parents want to feel confident and reassured that choosing to let their kids return to in-person learning will be safe and beneficial to them. 

Netsweeper’s onGuard works both online and offline and can easily identify students at risk. It scans internet content, desktop content, and user-submitted data in real-time to deliver an analysis of school’s device activity. Being proactive with Netsweeper’s solution will allow schools and parents to protect students and promote mental health wellness.   

Keep an eye out for more of our Back to School blog series during the month of August where we’ll be discussing tips on how to prepare for in-class learning in the fall. For more information on Netsweeper’s onGuard download our brochure and book a demo with one of our solution experts to see how we can help you.    

Submitted by: Natasha Pande