3 Smart Tips for a Stress-free Return to School

Mother preparing her child for school in front of their house

Emotions are mixed about returning to the classroom this fall. Many families are excited to experience another step toward normalcy. Simultaneously, extra worries from the lingering pandemic trouble parents and children alike. Follow these stress-reducing tips from Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation to ease the return to classrooms.

The Scenario

With its changing directives, quarantines, mask requirements, and severe health outcomes, COVID-19 has increased anxiety in even the most carefree adults. Children have been forced to deal with big emotions and stressful situations without yet learning the strategies to process them.

Under-resourced communities and children/families with special needs may be even more impacted by the pandemic’s fallout, especially the requirement for remote learning. Limited access to their support system, however meager, has added stress to an already challenging time. Now, it’s time to return these children to the classroom. Although there are proven benefits to in-person learning, the transition presents new mental health challenges.

The Return

Parents and school communities have the power to reduce back-to-classroom struggles. Start now to prepare your child for a healthy, happy return to in-person school.

1. Get in the Know

Learn the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Become familiar with your school’s own protocol. Know what to expect so you can prepare your child.

Inform your child of things like daily clearance forms, temperature readings, and mask-wearing rules so they know what their day will include. Parents should expect an abundance of caution on allowing kids with sniffles, coughs, and other symptoms to attend school.

2. Learn the Role of Vaccinations

Follow the latest guidance on recommended vaccinations, including for COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine is being studied in younger age groups. Expect new guidance soon on expanding the vaccine to earlier ages.

Speak with your pediatrician or health clinic on ways to keep your child healthy and safe, including through vaccination. Then, reassure your child that they can return to school with their own “invisible safety shield” against bad germs.

The TriCounty Health Council will host a virtual town hall meeting on Thursday, July 22, at 7:00pm. Register here.

to join and share questions you’d like addressed. The event will focus on vaccinations and safe return to in-person learning.

Can’t attend on July 22? Visit the TriCounty Health Council Facebook page for a complete recording of the town hall after its conclusion.

3. Project Confidence

Once you have reassured yourself (through previous suggestions), you should have the confidence needed to support your children during classroom reentry. Monitor them for anxiety and fears. Acknowledge their concerns, and address them. Reassure your kids that their school is following public health guidelines. Above all, emphasize you are doing everything possible to keep them safe.


Maintain a dialogue within your family and your school system. This will help minimize surprises, eliminate rumors, and avoid overwhelmed emotions. A safe return to the classroom helps provide an equitable education—academically, physically, and emotionally—for all children. Let’s be successful!

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