The long, lazy and sweltering weeks of Summer are all but gone (minus the heat) as the new school year rolled in with much anticipation from students who had been confined to a small corner of their homes; relegated to interacting with their schoolmates from a bright computer screen.

It’s the first time in about two and half years that the school year seemed poised to make a full return after the COVID-19 pandemic restricted students to the hallways of their homes out of fear of catching the deadly virus.

On September 5 2022, a kaleidoscope of colourful and neatly pressed uniforms graced the bus stops and school gates while new school gear made its debut with each stride towards the school compound.

Teachers were eagerly awaiting their various opportunities to get back into the classrooms to see their students face-to-face, ready to shape the minds of future leaders and artisans.

Apart from a few travellers heading in and out of town during the summer months, the day’s commute had remained largely dormant until September rode in with sounds of blaring horns and roaring engines disturbed a once tranquil ride to the office for many adults.

Though a nuisance for some, the new school term signals economic activity that had been absent for so long. The school’s perimeter chain-linked fence was no match for the expected high level of trade between students and vendors. School was definitely in session in and out of the classroom.

With all the newness in the air, parents, guardians and drivers must remember their vested interest in ensuring that their “precious cargo” safely makes it to and from their destinations. Don’t let the high-stake hustle to be the first one out the door and to beat the traffic, allow you to forget to check that they are securely strapped in the vehicle. Such a lapse in judgment can cost you five hundred dollars, to say the least.

Instead of screaming at “Joel” to get out of the house half dressed with tie in hand, try leaving a few minutes earlier to avoid the morning traffic congestion and the road rage that accompanies it. We are all expected home at the end of the day.

Click here for more road safety tips for kids:

And while it may seem to be business as usual, the constant reminders of the COVID-19 virus are ever-present. Though health and safety protocols have been lifted, for the most part, persons can still be seen on the streets, in offices and in vehicles wearing their face masks to offer themselves and others some level of protection from this ongoing and unprecedented pandemic.

Schools, businesses, churches and offices are still plastered with signs “WEAR A MASK”, “WASH/SANITIZE YOUR HANDS”, “STAND 6 FEET APART” etc. all constant reminders of our new normal for nearly three years. Do encourage your children to wear a mask as practical as it can be, to wash their hands or sanitize at every opportunity possible.

Sadly, the recent upsurge in the number of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease cases (HFM) is another constant reminder of the world we are living in where these outbreaks can happen with little to no warning.

Click the links for more info on the management of HFMD:

Many epidemics and pandemics have been linked to poor hygiene, poor living conditions, and unhealthy habits so, in our efforts to eradicate one crisis let’s not create another.

Follow these good basic health and hygiene practices:

  • Do not touch eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Do not touch or eat food and drinks with unwashed/unsanitized hands
  • Do not blow your nose, cough, or sneeze into your hands and then touch other people’s hands or surfaces

Parents, if your children are sick keep them at home or assign a responsible adult to watch over them to prevent them from spreading any infection to another child, teacher or auxiliary staff members.

As we journey through this new school year together, in spite of the seen and unseen challenges let’s all do our best to keep our children, teachers and supporting staff on our educational plants safe.

The cocktails of emotions and trepidations will all slip away into the memories of yet another yearly educational challenge.