The Post-Pandemic Back to School Blues
written by Dr. Liz Matheis, posted on Psychology Today
I think we can all agree that the beginning of this school year has been an “interesting” one, right? Here we are, post-pandemic, two and a half years since we were shut down and isolated, and our worlds were truly turned over, upside down and inside out.
The vibe in my house has been a bit off since the start of the school year and I know I’m not alone. We are all still trying to hold on to the summer barefoot mentality (the warm weather has been helping) so we are all struggling to embrace the new school year and the fall season.
A couple of thoughts come to mind. We haven’t had a “regular” back-to-school season since September 2020. That’s three start-of-the-school-years that we have held our breath for and waited to see how it would turn out. For our anxious kids, teens, and young adults, this is exactly what our anxious nightmares are made of. For years now, we have been grappling with the following ideas: virtual vs. in-person; mask vs. no-mask; vaccinated, boosted or not, ride the school bus or drive by car, and so on. Exhausting.
There’s another huge factor that has been at play which is a bit of the elephant in the room. Our teachers and administrators are relying on pre-pandemic standards for academics, behavior, dress codes, and everything else, but we have lived through a pandemic and returning to what was doesn’t make sense without acknowledging that we have all been to war and back, perhaps traumatized, and yet no adjustments or accommodations have been made.