How to prepare your students for their first day back to the classroom


MADISON, Ala. – The state superintendent is expected to announce his Roadmap on Reopening Alabama schools on Thursday. It is what many parents have been waiting months for.

While we battle the pandemic together, a child psychologist shared some advice to help concerned parents and students navigate preparing for the first day back to school.

The upcoming school year could resemble Thursday’s food distribution program in Madison in some ways. Students volunteered to help feed hungry families, but they’re masked up and keeping distance where possible.

“Even if it’s not comfortable for you to wear a mask, maybe you have to wear a mask to make someone else comfortable,” said father of four boys Eli Brooks.

Brooks said he’s showing his sons how to interact with people now, so it won’t be a shock to them encountering dozens more in school hallways.

“We’re just trying to teach them some of those new normals they have to have with social distancing and guidelines when we’re walking in the stores,” said Brooks.

This is the kind of mindset Alabama Psychological Services Center Child Psychologist Kristen Hirsh encourages parents to follow.

“I think they just need to be a good example for their kids because this has been going on since March, said Hirsh.

It’s been more than 100 days since Alabama schools were forced to closed due to COVID-19. Most recently, all the superintendents in the state gathered in South Alabama with State Superintendent Dr. Erik Mackey to get direction on how to reopen schools.

But Angel Farmer already made the decision to keep one daughter at home for her freshman year of college, and she is debating on sending her youngest child back to the classroom for high school.

“You really have to be cautious about touching someone, or sharing food, or giving them a drink out of your drink container, or something like that,” said Farmer.

Hirsh said it’s a learning curve more than anything.

“It’s hard to explain to them that no you’re not allowed to be close to me. You have to stay six feet away from me. So as a professional working with children, that’s hard. And I can imagine as school teachers, that’s going to be hard,” said Hirsh.

WHNT News 19 will live stream the news conference at 10 a.m. Friday.


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