Gateway High School recognizes that heading back to school will be a little different this year. Making sure that students have everything they need to maximize learning for the year ahead is always challenging, but there are several things you need to consider in the midst of this global pandemic.
We have created a comprehensive, straightforward checklist for heading back to school in the coming months. This checklist is not exhaustive but will provide some guidance and organization during these uncertain times.
1. Plan for Continued Virtual Learning
Virtual learning will continue when school resumes this fall. The APS Board of Education has decided that students will learn remotely until the end of the first quarter on October 15th. At that point, it will decide whether to resume in-person learning. Gateway High School leadership will make every attempt to keep parents and students updated as soon as information is known.
2. Expect More Rigorous Learning
While students will remain at home for the first quarter, the parameters of their virtual learning environment will change. In response to growing concerns, new requirements will ensure students are signed into virtual lessons throughout the day while progressing forward. Teachers have also been trained to provide greater emotional, academic, and social support in a virtual learning setting.
3. Organize a Schedule
Establishing a schedule and academic routine are always helpful, but they are essential while learning (or working) from home. Faculty and parents can help students stay disciplined by enforcing a strict schedule. Rigorous learning requires minimal distractions and total focus. Maintain motivation by taking regular breaks between lessons and coursework.
4. Set Up A Workspace
Parents can help by transforming their home environment into a structured workspace, and students will find it easier to focus and learn. Make sure they have a desk and the necessary school supplies. Co-create a learning area in a distraction-free, quiet zone, if possible.
Eventually, students will return to traditional classes. Gateway High School will communicate this in accordance with state and district mandates and will alert our community as soon as possible. It is essential to keep the lines of communication open between the school and its learners. Please keep all your contact information up to date and call the school if you are uncertain. Parents: please help your high school young adults to remember:
1. Pack a Water Bottle
It is important that students stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking from their own personal water bottle. Pack a water bottle when your student returns to face-to-face classes and instruct them not to share with others.
2. Pack Face Masks
Face masks are also worth adding to your back to school checklist. Face masks are especially important if your student takes public transit to school. Teach your student how to wear masks properly and remind them that they are for everyone’s protection, not just theirs. Washing face masks is essential, and replacing old masks on a consistent basis will make them more effective.
3. Bring Hand Sanitizer
Make sure students bring good hand sanitizer with them to school. Combined with proper hand-washing techniques, regular hand sanitization can keep the entire school environment safe.
4. Stay Up to Date With Announcements From Gateway
We will continue to update our students and parents throughout the year, so remember to stay connected and up to date with any official announcements. Gateway will let everyone know about potential outbreaks, closures, and other important information that will affect normal school routines this year.
Another important consideration during this period is the emotional well-being of all students. Here are some important considerations for our young learner’s mental and emotional health:
1. Check in With Your Student Regularly
Regular check-ins with your student can make a big difference. Not only can you ensure they are progressing academically, but you can make sure they are mentally and emotionally healthy during these potentially stressful times.
2. Search for Social Opportunities
Many students (and parents/ faculty) miss the social aspect of attending classes in person. You can alleviate these frustrations by searching for social opportunities – either virtual or physical. Find ways for your student to connect with others, and you can help them alleviate emotional pressure. Clubs, hobbies, volunteer opportunities, virtual social and study groups, and regular exercise are all ways to stay healthy and feel more connected.
3. Reach Out to Gateway if You Have Any Concerns
Remember to reach out to Gateway if you have any concerns about the upcoming school year. We are always here to help. Teachers and administrators can make sure that your student has the tools and resources to continue their education in a virtual learning environment. Together we can parents stay informed and your student return to school in a safe, organized manner.