“As elementary school students return to in-person classes, parents are getting increasingly concerned about their kids’ safety…Added to the worries are fears that after a year of remote learning, some kids have potentially fallen behind or become less comfortable socializing with peers.” P. Klass, MD, The New York Times, Aug. 17, 2021
Excerpt: How to Prep Kids for a Potentially Bumpy Return to School By Perri Klass, MD, The New York Times, Aug. 17, 2021
“As the American Academy of Pediatrics continues to review the rapidly evolving coronavirus situation in schools, it is still recommending in-person education, said Dr. Sara Bode, chairwoman-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on School Health. But at the same time, it is strongly recommending universal masking and a speedy authorization of vaccines for kids under 12.
Here are some ways you can ensure a smooth re-entry for your child.
One of the best ways to level a bumpy road back to in-person schooling, said Dr. Bode, who is also a general pediatrician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, is to give children a good sense of what they can expect, and for parents to make clear that they believe a safe return is possible…First, and most importantly, make sure all family members who are eligible are fully vaccinated, said Dr. Grace Black, a general pediatrician affiliated with the University of Rochester Medical Center.
This includes kids ages 12 and up, as well as their older siblings, parents and grandparents… Tell your child that the vaccines are safe and effective, said Dr. Danielle Erkoboni, a general pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and that using them in tandem with masks is the best way to keep everyone safe.
Frank discussions like these can give children a sense of their own power and agency in a potentially scary time…Because of the large-scale disruptions in learning over the past year, some students will be returning with major gaps in their education, Dr. Bode said, and they will need time to catch up…While the weather is still warm, summer activities and visits with friends — hikes, picnics, ball games in the park — can help reintroduce kids to group activities and take some of the tension out of going back to the classroom…Also make sure that your child’s school is doing everything they can to create a culture of acceptance and compassion, and that they are taking bullying — whether it’s because of weight gain, masking, academic issues or anything else — seriously and addressing it promptly.”
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 60 minutes.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. Examine any photos, then create a list of words and ideas that you and your group members think might be related to this article.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- The Delta variant has caused a surge in pediatric Covid-19 hospitalizations.
- Especially in areas with low vaccination rates.
- Some states aren’t mandating masks in classrooms.
- Added to the fears that after a year of remote learning, some kids have potentially fallen behind in studies.
- Some kids have become less comfortable socializing with peers.
- There are ways that you can ensure a smooth re-entry for your child.
- Getting the vaccine and using them in tandem with masks keeps everyone safe.
- It is important to give children a sense of their own power and agency in a potentially scary time.
- Because of the disruptions in learning over the past year, some students will be returning major gaps in their education.
- When children are feeling vulnerable, they need more physical affection, reassurance and acknowledgment.
Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage
Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical error. Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.
- Be prepared for some challenge.
- Be OK with academic imperfection.
- Discuss the importance of vaccines and masking.
- Project calm reassurance.
- Talk to kids about the types of masks.
- Reintroduce social activities safely.
- Return to an routine.
- Help your kids get back on track before school starts.
- Try to reestablish some dietary boundaries.
Reading Comprehension Identify The Speakers
Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.
- “As the American Academy of Pediatrics continues to review the rapidly evolving coronavirus situation in schools, it is still recommending in-person education.”
- “One of the best ways to level a bumpy road back to in-person schooling is to give children a good sense of what they can expect, and for parents to make clear that they believe a safe return is possible.”
- “First, and most importantly, make sure all family members who are eligible are fully vaccinated.”
- “As soon as the vaccine is available to kids under 12 it’s important that they get it, too.”
- “Tell your child that the vaccines are safe and effective, and that using them in tandem with masks is the best way to keep everyone safe.”
III. Post Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: Have students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.
- Do you have school-age kids that are starting school this year?
- If so, are you concerned about their health or that they may have fallen behind in their school work? Please explain why.
- In your personal opinion should young children start in-person school this year? Why or why not?
- According to the article which organization recommends kids attend school in-person?
- What are some of the ways mentioned to help your child reenter school this year? Can you think of any other ways?
- According to Dr. Grace Black what should all family members do?
- Why is it important for children to understand when we ask them to do anything?
- How should parents feel if their child’s learning is a little behind other students?
- How should parents and the schools handle bullying or mockery from students who do not wear masks or take safety precautions?
- What things can parents do at home to begin the process of healthy habits in school?