While schools in some areas of the country won’t reopen until September, kids in parts of the U.S. are starting to head back to school after a year-plus of disrupted pandemic learning. Students in California went back to school last week for in-person learning after many experienced remote or hybrid learning models for most of last year, while some Mississippi classrooms have been open since the last week of July.
Parents are flooding social media with back-to-school photos, and many shared emotional messages as well.
Why does this school year feel different than years past? “It feels like a little bit of a return to normalcy after a year-plus of anything but,” Dr. Danelle Fisher, a pediatrician and chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., tells Yahoo Life. “A lot of schools were not accommodating a full five-day-a-week schedule last year. It just feels right, like what our kids are supposed to be doing.”
Feeling emotional about kids going back to school is a “typical response, but it’s amplified this year because of everything that’s been going on for the past year and a half,” Jason Lewis, a psychologist and section director of Mood, Anxiety and Trauma Disorders in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, tells Yahoo Life. “It’s been a long time now since there were typical school days,” he adds.
Going back to school can be seen by some parents as a “victory lap” after everything they’ve been through with pandemic learning, John Mayer, a clinical psychologist, author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life and creator of the Anxiety’s a B!tch podcast, tells Yahoo Life. “It is the walk-off home run, the winning of the race, the game-winning touchdown or the last note in a perfect performance,” he says.