Many school districts across Michigan will be opening the doors to students over the next few weeks, and many teachers are trying to do things differently with kids in mind.
Kelley Frogge is a kindergarten teacher at Dresden Elementary in Sterling Heights. She said getting her room ready is a labor of love, but she also likes to help moms and dads prep, too.
She shared a Facebook post in July listing some parental tips and tricks. That post was shared more than 30,000 times!
Thousands of people commented, and many asked how they could show their support. So, Frogge posted an Amazon wishlist for her classroom, and more than $600 worth of supplies rolled in.
7 Action New Morning Anchor Alicia Smith visited Frogge's classroom recently to see all of the donations that came from across the country.
Smith asked Frogge what was going to be different this school year.
"This year in Utica Schools, we are strongly recommending and encouraging the children to wear masks. However, they will not be mandated."
"Will you be wearing a mask?" Smith asked.
"I will be following the Utica Schools recommendations, and I will be wearing my mask for the majority of the time in the classrooms," Frogge said. "There might be a time I need to take it off for a certain specific reason, but for the most part, I will be following Utica's recommendations."
In other school districts, like in Southfield Public Schools, teachers are rolling with different rules when it comes to masking up.
"If you’re in Southfield, students and staff -- everyone does have to wear a mask. That’s a mandate in all buildings at all times," said Denise Bush, a literacy coach at Stevenson Elementary School.
There will be chances for kids to have a break and take some time outside with their masks off.
According to Bush, the district purchased books to help make the transition back in the fall.
“Our district made sure that we prepared all of our staff with some training on making sure our kids had the social, emotional support that they’re going to need because having been home for over a year has been a real challenge for them," Bush said.
The staff has undergone mindfulness training to help both themselves and their students.
They'll also be incorporating games, giant building blocks, and drumming classes to help build not only the kids' comfort level but also their minds.
Boxes are filling the hallways at Stevenson Elementary School – many of them with brand-new yoga mats. Each kid will be getting a yoga mat this fall that they can use three times a day.
There will also be the return of a "Wellness Center" at every Southfield school. The area includes individual little rooms complete with comfy chairs, a window, and a soothing theme. This is where a child who might show symptoms at school can wait for their parents to pick them up.
Whatever the academic year has in store for the students, the teachers are hoping to make coming back during the pandemic as seamless as possible.