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The outbreak of SARS-COVID-19 (coronavirus) has caused many educational institutions to close temporarily and rely on distance education.

As teachers and parents, we realise that this has provided new challenges to your students’ education at a time when you are probably also feeling more uncertainty. To help you out we put together this list of easy actions that can be taken to help support your students.

It’s important to caveat that we are not experts on mental health. We view this as an important aspect of the upcoming months not to be overlooked and we want to raise awareness around it. We’ve taken these actions from the following sources and encourage you strongly to take a read of them yourself!

Structure and Routine 🕒

Although the situation is dynamic and constantly changing, the more structure that can be built into each day the better. This is most easily done in the form of routine… which we normally get pre-baked into our school experience.

By doing your best to stick to the routine that was already in place at school or forming a new routine that works well for your new situation, you give students something firm to look forward to.

If you do form a new routine, just be sure to communicate what it will be with your students and to stick with it. Ideally it shouldn’t be too complicated.

For example, maybe your daily routine could be: a morning catchup with everyone, some math, morning tea, some language, afternoon tea, some creative work, and finally a game to leave the day on a positive note.

Calm Communication 💬

As adults, we have it hard enough understanding the daily onslaught of information from the media… now put yourself in the shoes of your students.

They have exceptional capabilities to navigate the internet and access the information themselves so it is our responsibility to help them filter and internalise this information.

Take the time to talk with your students about the SARS-COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your students can understand.

It is especially important to reassure them that they are safe. Let them know that it is ok to feel upset and share with them how you are dealing with the uncertainty of the situation so that they can learn to cope from you.

Social Activity 🎎

With physical distancing (or the less friendly term “social distancing”) the norm, students won’t be able to see their friends for a while... which could be quite distressing.

You can improve this massively by embracing the digital world we live in and continuing to build social activities into your students’ new learning situation.

In particular, you can still have students working together on group activities with the aid of video call services such as Skype, Zoom, Hangouts or Whereby.

There are also numerous social learning games that can be run remotely such as our Manic Math. However, be sure to look closely at how to use them remotely if you are planning to! There is more than enough going on without the added struggles of learning a new tool if you aren’t comfortable with technology.

Maintain Normal Healthy Habits 💤🥗🤾‍♀️

This seems incredibly obvious but may be lost in the moment. Be sure that your students keep doing the basic, healthy life habits. Especially watch out for the following ones.

  • Staying hydrated. Ensure your students have a waterbottle with them when they come to your remote class (same rules as the classroom!).

  • Sleeping. As much as possible keeping your students socially active, communicating with them and maintaining routine should help them keep to a regular sleep pattern.

  • Healthy eating. Don’t stop having healthy snack breaks if you did them before, and consider introducing them if you didn’t. This can be an easy and fun part of your routine.

  • Exercise. This is more difficult being indoors but still very achievable! There are plenty of quick 5 minute workouts online. Go take a look and become the yoga instructor your students didn’t know they needed 😛

Final words…

It’s our responsibility to set a good example for our students. Make sure that you are looking after yourself as well otherwise you won’t be in a good place to help out your students.

This is by no means an exhaustive list! If there are other suggestions you have be sure to share this post and list your own tips with it.

Be unusually kind in these trying times. We have nothing to fear, but fear itself. 🙂