Going ‘back to school’ always involves a transition for families and educators, but this year it will be even more challenging. Families returning to traditional, in-person schooling will need extra face masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes, in addition to the usual school supplies and back-to-school clothing. Families transitioning to new modes of schooling—whether online instruction, homeschooling, or “pandemic pods” (i.e., education co-ops)—will need to develop new routines, practices, and relationships to make learning both effective and sustainable. And educators, regardless of who, where, and how they will be teaching, will need both creativity and grit as they flexibly adapt to changing conditions when teaching and connecting with their students. Given all this, something everyone will need and benefit from taking back to school this year is hope.
Although many people experience a “let down” in January after the holidays are over, students, parents, teachers, and others associated with Catholic schools have an opportunity to continue the festivity through Catholic Schools Week (CSW). Special liturgies, essay contests, community receptions, “dress-down” days, and other thematically-linked activities celebrate the gift of Catholic education.