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The Covid Lull: Seven Things to Do Right Now

covid teaching

As infection rates drop dramatically nationwide, many people feel that they are in a welcome lull from pandemic stressors. School buildings may not look the way they did two years ago, but many are edging closer to something that looks familiar. As Omicron fades, classroom life seems a bit more normal. However, with the possibility of new variants constantly lurking, we might need to face a future that includes intermittent disruption from pandemic restrictions. For right now, with spring around the corner and a covid break on the horizon, how can teachers take advantage of the good times while they last?

  1. Schedule field trips. Now may be the time to give children the experiences that teachers haven’t been able to provide for the past two years. If students are older than five years old (i.e., eligible for vaccination), trips to indoor spaces like museums and aquariums are such a valuable way to engage in experiential learning. If kids are younger and the weather is cooperative, outdoor venues like living history villages or local farms are a great way to get a change of scenery while learning something at the same time.
  2. Hang out with colleagues. With the weather getting gradually warmer in many parts of the country, old standbys like happy hour after work or lunch in the courtyard become more doable. This year, so many teachers in the same building have been isolating themselves in classrooms to prevent the spread of infection. With numbers coming down, now is a perfect time to reconnect with colleagues and rekindle old friendships. 
  3. Stock up on supplies. During the height of Omicron, prices went way up for masks, sanitizer, and disinfecting cleansers. With rates of disease spread dropping dramatically, so are the dollar signs attached to some of the safety items that we need so badly in classrooms. In a perfect world, schools would provide anything teachers need to keep everyone safe, but that is often not the case. This is the ideal time to stock up on supplies. Unfortunately, with the pattern of mutation covid has repeatedly demonstrated, we are likely to need these items again.
  4. Open the windows. So many of us are waiting for better air filtration systems. The older our school buildings are, the less likely we are to have clean air to breathe. For the time being, opening the windows might be a way to bring in a hint of spring while making the classroom a safer space. However, before making this move, check for kids who might have allergies. If the fresh air causes them distress, buying an air filter (finances permitting, of course) is a better way to go.
  5. Teach compassion. With all the fighting around us, whether we think about the heartbreaking situation in Ukraine or the arguments between adults in this country about anything from pandemic policy to civil rights, this is a monumentally hard time to be a kid. Teachers represent stability and even-headedness, and compassion is a much-needed priority to model and elevate in classrooms. In addition to helping students be kind to one another, we can also teach them self-compassion. Everyone makes mistakes, and that is a good thing; it guides us toward a more informed, thoughtful pathway. If we model this way of thinking, perhaps the next generation will be the one to save our world.
  6. Take more time to check in. Just like adults, many students are feeling uncomfortable or nervous about the many changes swirling around them. Check-in time can be connected to course content or it can be more of a personal process, but either way, it’s a good idea to grab a few extra minutes wherever possible to see how kids are managing shifts in school operations with the easing of restrictions.
  7. Explore the school building. In the height of various waves of the pandemic, it has been much harder to move around beyond classroom walls. Now that limitations are easing up, students can learn from several different spaces, from the library or media center to other designated common areas. Recently, I saw a class reading famous speeches out loud in an atrium located near the main school entrance. Their voices were echoing off the walls in a way that could not be replicated in a smaller space, and the class was laughing and enjoying the experience. Sometimes, even a trip down the hallway for a few minutes can be a refreshing change.

We’d all love for this lull to be permanent, but if we’ve learned anything over the past two years, it’s that this disease mutates quickly and unpredictably. In the event that schools need to go back to some of the mitigation measures for infection, teachers can do a little more now to help bring back some pre-pandemic social norms. Many students may not even remember what instruction looked like prior to March of 2020, so two full years later, we have the opportunity to offer some options that have been a long time coming. 

Written by Miriam Plotinsky, Education World Contributing Writer

Miriam Plotinsky is an instructional specialist with Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, where she has taught and led for more than 20 years. She is the author of Teach More, Hover Less and is also a National Board-Certified Teacher with additional certification in administration and supervision. She can be reached at or via Twitter: @MirPloMCPS.

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