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5 Tips for Returning to In-Person School & Work After COVID-19
2020 was a year of ups and downs that tested our resolve and showed us how resilient we are. A lot of the unrest felt around the world was due to stay-at-home orders from federal and local governments and the temporary closure of all businesses. Fortunately, now that we’ve taken steps to manage the pandemic, most of the population is beginning to feel comfortable returning to work and school after coronavirus.
Whether getting back to your pre-pandemic routine has been a long time coming or you’re content with staying home as long as possible, the big question is: Do you feel prepared for life after COVID-19?
If you’re still feeling a bit of anxiety, our team has compiled a few tips to help you and your family make the steady—and safe—transition into this post-restrictive world.
Helpful Tips for Returning to Life After COVID-19
1. Continue to Follow (the Centers of Disease Control) CDC Guidelines
While many countries are making great strides in terms of the number of vaccinated individuals, it’s still vital that you follow CDC health guidelines to protect yourself and those around you. A few simple things you can continue to do include:
Washing your hands regularly
Wearing a reusable face mask (unless you’re full vaccinated)
Cleaning high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces regularly
Keeping a close eye on individuals showing symptoms
2. Check-In with Your Work or School about COVID-19 Policies
If you’ve been working from home or your children have been participating in virtual learning for most of 2020 and part of 2021, it’s probably safe to say that there’s a plan in place for everyone to return to in-person interaction at work and school.
Many school districts have already delivered information to parents regarding schools opening back up for in-person learning in the fall. This information should outline the precautions being taken to ensure teachers and students are safe. The week before students return, check in with the school administration to confirm their actions to reduce the spread of harmful germs and bacteria.
Additionally, businesses are on the road to welcoming employees back to the office full time and taking necessary provisions to keep everyone healthy. Planning has likely been in the works for months to have you and your coworkers return to work, so you should have already seen a series of correspondence reiterating the effective date and what’s being done to ensure safety. Still, it never hurts to ask questions about specific policies regarding, for example, vaccinated and unvaccinated coworkers or mask-wearing procedures in the office.
3. Be Aware of Symptoms
Even though we’re getting back to life after COVD-19, we’re not out of the woods just yet. It’s essential to watch for any symptoms you or your children may experience after returning to work and school. Some of the most common symptoms include:
Loss of taste or smell
Remember, you and your children may catch colds and other curable illnesses as you interact with more people and your immune system strengthens. Stay diligent in mitigating additional serious and life-threatening ailments.
4. Don’t Expect Things to Go Back to Normal Immediately
2020 was tumultuous for everyone. And anything extremely life-changing can take a tremendous toll on people in different ways. The American Psychological Association conducted a survey in April 2021 that found that approximately 49% of Americans are anxious about returning to life after COVID, including fully or partially vaccinated individuals.
If you’re gearing up to return to work and have your kids go back to school, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to go back to your pre-pandemic life. Things have most certainly changed for everyone, and it’s okay to acknowledge that. During the pandemic, your “new normal” helped you adjust to life with guidelines to protect you and your loved ones. It’s perfectly natural to hold onto some of those standards as health organizations ease or remove restrictions.
5. Set Realistic Expectations
Sometimes, you may set expectations that simply aren’t sufficient given the circumstances. The pandemic has upended everyone’s general idea of expectations and changed virtually everything about daily life. Setting unrealistic intentions for yourself after such a life-altering event could result in disappointment and frustration.
Steps you can take to set achievable expectations include:
Maintain your regular routine.
Check-in with yourself daily.
Reflect on the positive things in your life.
Give yourself grace.
As you set your expectations for life after COVID-19, make sure to write them down and accompany them with rationales.