For many years now, ‘Back to School’ had morphed into a “trend”. There used to be a time when schools re-opening after the summer break or the winter one was just another day in the life of students. But as Back to School started trending as a catchphrase, re-entering the portals of academic institutions became a lifestyle regimen, complete with new products, new mindsets — and new resolutions.
Then, of course, Covid happened, and schools had to do a course correction. Online classes became the norm, and as and when the number of cases dipped, physical classes started, but half-heartedly: with social distancing, and the option to do online classes, which many students availed of. Schools — and classrooms — were not the same safe spaces as they were in pre-Covid times. Many of us had feared that schools, as we knew them, would not exist anymore, and that our kids may have to grow up without being part of the social milieu that’s perhaps most vital in making them the kind of adults they would become. And children had to contend with the idea of the home study or living room doubling up as their classroom, and their computer screens virtually showcasing faces of their beloved classmates and teachers.
Today, as Back to School trends again in the UAE, all that seems like a nightmare that we have — thankfully — woken up from. This season, going back has been like going to the original blueprint, which is why it is no surprise that the re-openings have been in step with blitzes and bashes, flash mobs and festivities. Schools are going out of their way to demonstrate to their students how precious and valuable they are, and how much they were missed on account of the Covid-induced discrepancies. As children get back in their grooves — hopefully for good — it is also important for adults (parents and teachers) to realise that they need to be guided back to a state which has almost become unfamiliar to them. It will require patience and affection and intuitiveness to reset them for a new academic year. There are bound to be blips and mistakes, and these have to be handled with utmost care.
And finally, thanks to Covid, new learnings have to be imbibed into the kids — which is the responsibility of both families and teachers. Chief among them is not to take anything for granted, to always be prepared, and be mentally strong to take the rough with the smooth. It’s little wonder that Back to School this season has taken on a life of its own!
Many residents have taken a third booster dose. Some have even taken a fourth. All this has been for free as the government opened its coffers for the sake of public health
Today, it’s not uncommon to spot images of UAE royals on social media reaching out to common men and women and hailing them for their extraordinary acts of courage and resilience