My mom is a kindergarten teacher who has gone back to work in person. I interviewed her about the struggles and benefits of teaching such a young age group during a pandemic.
Her Campus: What’s it like going back to school during the pandemic? What procedures are in place?
Mom: A lot of it’s the same because we have always kept up consistent hygienic practices at our school. Wiping down surfaces with bleach to keep COVID at bay is normal. That has increased, obviously, because we wipe down after every activity. But that hasn’t changed because we really do keep a clean room in our kindergarten class. It is a constant. After each activity, there is wiping and hand sanitizing. We do complete hand washing. The toughest part is not the cleanliness routine, but the requirement of mask-wearing as well.
HC: How are the kids adjusting to wearing masks all the time?
M: The kids kept wearing it under their nose in the beginning and we kept reminding them, but they’re better at it than adults. Even when they’re outside and we’re having a “mask break,” many of them don’t take advantage of this. It’s really interesting that kids don’t have a problem, but there seems to be a constant complaint with adults.
HC: How does social distancing work when you’re watching young children?
M: In terms of distancing, we do our best to keep “monster arm length” apart, which is six feet apart. The kids are constantly reminded because it’s just natural for a kindergartner to want to touch. This is our toughest challenge. We use a variety of methods like a hula hoop to separate them.
HC: It sounds like your school and the kids are doing great with taking precautions, but what are some of the struggles for teachers during the time of COVID?
M: It’s really difficult because we have separate school cohorts now, which means classes cannot play with one another. There are also co-curriculums. This is hard for adults too since there is a lack of interaction with the kids due to the pandemic.
HC: Do you know if your school plans to go online in the near future?
M: Things have been going extremely well, so it doesn’t seem likely, but we are always preparing to move online in the worst-case scenario.
HC: How do you think in-person schooling during a pandemic is affecting children?
M: Our kids are amazing, they just go with it. We’ve moved them past the emotional effects of COVID by bringing them back into our classroom. While we’re still working on socialization with them, and plunging through in person, things are going well.
My mom is not alone with these struggles. Teachers all across the country are learning to adapt to the challenges of Corona.