Parents and students get ready for the first day of school

SPOKANE, Wash. — School will look different for thousands of students Monday morning. For the first time, all students in Spokane Public Schools will be logging in to class instead of being there in person.

Most school districts in the Greater Spokane area opted for full-time remote learning, while other districts in the Idaho Panhandle are bringing students back part-time.

Spokane mom Tyffany Sleep is about as ready as she can be for her kids to start learning online Monday.

Many kitchens and dining tables most likely are now filled with children’s school material. Sleep’s looks that way, in addition to some cardboard display boards with her children’s name on it and other decorations.

She wanted her kids to have a little more fun with remote learning, and added more to their set up.

“I saw it online, and then I said oh that would be cool,” Sleep said. “I’m hoping now with the two laptops, they can have their own little circles, they both have headphones, so hopefully they can distance out and not have as many issues as they did last year.”

Their normal back-to-school routine went out the window with the pandemic. She’s hoping the new set up will keep them focused.

“I think as long as it stays new to them, it’ll work out. So, we’ll see,” she said.

Remote learning means a lot of screen time. Mt. Spokane Pediatrics Nurse Practitioner Bryan Cress says kids can stand up while their teachers are talking.

“As long as you’re not being distracting on that camera, you can still get a little bit of movement around. That’s probably the biggest thing when sitting somewhere for too long, not getting up and moving,” Cress said.

Cress said it’s also important to limit the number of snacks per day for kids, because they wouldn’t have as many snacks while in school. Making sure their active when they can be – like during breaks – is a good idea, too, he said.

Kids should also not be on their phones or in front of a screen an hour before bed. Cress said it can affect their sleep. Instead, have them read or do some activities together as a family.

Although some students may feel sad because they’re not in class with their friends in-person, remind them this won’t last forever. Talking things out will help them.

“The big thing is: they’re going to get a second back to school day when they get to finally see all their friends in person again,” Cress said.

Sleep says once her kids get going Monday, she believe it’ll get easier with each day.

“I know there’s a lot of people not a big fan of virtual learning, but since we have to do it, it’s kind of, make the best of it,” she said.

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