WGBH – On Monday, thousands of elementary students headed back to classrooms full-time, many for the first time in months.

For parents and students, it’s a mixed bag of emotions — especially as coronavirus cases tick back up.

Dr. Fatima Watt is the director of behavioral health services at Franciscan Children’s in Boston. She said talking to kids about what may be different in school and role playing, especially with younger kids, will help put their minds at ease.

“If a child is getting too close to them and they feel uncomfortable, if someone doesn’t have a mask on and they’re feeling uncomfortable, sort of problem solving and helping them navigate how to manage those difficult situations,” Watt said. “For younger kids, role playing can be really helpful. The more we practice and feel confident, the less stress we’re under and the more we’ll be able to enjoy and be relaxed for learning.”

Sharon Wolder is executive director of student support services in the Brockton Public School district. Brockton was granted a waiver from the state to delay all elementary school students coming back full-time until later this month. But Wolder said students are back in the classrooms one day a week, which she thinks will help make the transition back to full-time classroom learning easier.

“We approached it with the reality that in order to be prepared to learn, you have to feel safe and comfortable,” Wolder said.

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