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How to prepare for the first day of school during a pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many schools to close last year before the semester ended. Many school administrators now plan to reopen for the new school year with their students’ health and safety in mind. Preparing to go back to school during a global pandemic can feel scary and anxious, but you may also be happy to see your friends and get back to a routine. By keeping in touch with those responsible for your school and taking safety precautions, you can prepare to return to school while keeping yourself and your classmates as safe as possible.


[[[[Edit]Manage stress and anxiety

  1. Talk to your friends about how they feel. If you̵
    7;ve been in a lockdown since last school year, you may not have seen your friends in a few months now. Try to reach them by phone or on social media to see how they feel about everything and what they think about the new school year. If you are worried, it is likely that they are also there to help you support each other.[1]
    Prepare for the first day of school during a pandemic step 1.jpg
    • Talking to people who are going through the same thing as you can help you feel less alone, and your friends can also give you tips on how to handle the new year.
  2. Brush on things you learned last year. If your school year ended early due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have trouble remembering what you learned about last year. If you still have your notes or homework, consider reviewing them again to get an update on what you learned. If you really have difficulty, you can try to reach an online tutor or look at online tutorial.[2]
    Prepare for the first day of school during a pandemic step 2.jpg
    • Khan Academy and YouTube have free videos that explain basic math, social studies, and science concepts.
    • Many teachers will not be upset about you if you need to review some concepts from last year. This is a tough time for everyone, including teachers.
  3. Take a break from watching the news. Staying informed is important, but watching the news 24/7 can give you poor eyesight and increase your stress levels. Do not be afraid to take 1 to 2 days off from news sites and social media to take care of your mental health.[3]
    Prepare for the first day of school during a pandemic step 3.jpg
    • Or you can set aside a small part of the day where you watch the news and then take a break from it for the rest of the day.
  4. Exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Taking care of your body is very important, although it can be difficult to do so when you are stressed. Try to exercise three to four times a week, eat a balanced diet high in whole grains, proteins, fruits and vegetables and drink water every time you are thirsty.[4]
    Prepare for the first day of school during a pandemic step 4.jpg
    • Try to bring a water bottle to school so you can get it when you need it.
  5. Get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Not enough sleep can make you irritated and cranky, and it can also make your stress and anxiety worse. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible and make sure you get enough rest so that you can learn effectively in school every day.[5]
    Prepare for the first day of school during a pandemic step 5.jpg
    • Going back to school can help you get back to a healthy sleep schedule.
  6. Set aside time to do activities you enjoy. Even if school starts again, try to get some time for your hobbies so you can unwind and relax. If you are too busy during the week, take some time on the weekends. You can play a card game, make crafts, read books or go out and socialize in nature.[6]
    Prepare for the first day of school during a pandemic step 6.jpg
    • Unfortunately, some of your activities outside of school may be interrupted due to the pandemic. If so, try to do these activities on your own, if you can. For example, if you played a sport at school, you should sharpen your skills in your garden or at home. Or, if you were in the drama club, practice performing monologues and sending a recording of yourself to your friends.
  7. Talk to an adult if you are struggling. It’s always tough to get back to the school year’s swing, and it’s especially difficult now. If you have trouble returning to school or are afraid of what might happen, contact an adult you trust. Everyone is feeling a little scared and anxious right now, so there is nothing to be ashamed of.[7]
    Prepare for the first day of school during a pandemic step 7.jpg
    • You can talk to your parents, your guardian, a teacher or even a counselor.

[[[[Edit]Security measures

  1. Ask your school administrators what precautions they take. When schools make the decision to reopen under COVID-19, they can implement new procedures and policies to protect you or your child. If you have not received any news about changes in your schools, email or call the school principal or administrator about what they do differently. Some useful questions to ask are:[8]
    Prepare for the first day of school during a pandemic step 8.jpg
    • What safety measures does the school take to keep students safe?
    • Will there be mental health facilities available to students this year?
    • How should you implement the safety measures available at the school?
  2. Wear a face mask if your school requires it. Before you go to school, make sure you have a cloth face mask that you can put on when you get close to other students and teachers. Be prepared to wear this mask most of the day if your school requires it.[9]
    Prepare for the first day of school during a pandemic step 9.jpg
    • Some schools do not require face masks, however it is best and safest to wear one anyway.
    • Try to wash the mask in warm water after each use to avoid contamination.
  3. Stay away from other students and staff. When you get to school, your desk can be arranged so that it is at least away from the other students. Try to keep at least this distance between you and your peers throughout the day to avoid contamination.[10]
    Prepare for the first day of school during a pandemic step 10.jpg
    • It can be hard not to be able to hug your friends, let alone stand close to them. Feeling sad about this is completely normal. Just remember to follow safety guidelines to keep yourself and others healthy, as hard as it is.
  4. Wash your hands with soap and water often. As often as you can, go to the bathroom and wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Rinse your hands thoroughly and dry them on a clean towel to kill any bacteria you may have come in contact with.[11]
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    • You can also carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your backpack if you cannot wash your hands.
    • Make sure you wash your hands really well before eating.
  5. Stay home if you feel sick. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, be sure to tell an adult and stay home from school. Keeping yourself isolated from your peers can help keep them healthy, and you will be able to go back to school when you feel better.[12]
    Prepare for the first day of school during a pandemic step 12.jpg
    • You may need to report your symptoms / test results to your school before you can return.
    • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, such as shortness of breath, cough and fever, consider getting a diagnostic test from your state or county health care professional.
  6. Follow the guidelines implemented by your school. Every school is different and your school may have stricter guidelines than others. Remember that every new rule is to protect you and your friends while still giving you a good education.[13]
    Prepare for the first day of school during a pandemic step 13.jpg
    • Some schools can be amazing lessons, amazing lunch and break times, get rid of time that goes by or move classrooms outside.


  • This is a new and uncertain time for everyone, and policies may change as more information becomes available.
  • You can also try talking to your parents about letting you go to online school if your school has that option. You can also do homeschooling.


  • If you ever feel insecure at school, talk to your parent or guardian.


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
  2. https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/what-will-return-school-during-covid-19-pandemic-look
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
  7. https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/supporting-your-childs-mental-health-during-covid-19-school-return
  8. https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/what-will-return-school-during-covid-19-pandemic-look
  9. https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/pdf/gr-pan-flu-ed-set.pdf
  10. https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/pdf/gr-pan-flu-ed-set.pdf
  11. https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/pdf/gr-pan-flu-ed-set.pdf
  12. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html
  13. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools-faq.html

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