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'The key part is just communicate' | Parents in the St. Louis area give advice as students head back to school

"It’ll be better for them and the student if there is structure created," one parent said

ST. LOUIS — Students in more than 20 area school districts are gearing up for the first day back to school Monday.

RELATED: Back-to-school guide: Social distancing, virtual learning, classroom safety

RELATED: How to help kids cope with back-to-school anxiety

This includes some of the region's largest districts like Hazelwood, Parkway, Rockwood and Wentzville.

"It’s going to be a little crazy, but you get used to it!" 

That's the advice from 7th grader Micayia Jett, who's already experienced her first day of school last week.

"It’s actually kind of fun to see everybody and you can still talk to everyone," she said.

Micayia is doing the virtual route at Marian Middle.

"I actually like it a lot. We’re basically doing online class, we get to see the teacher and interact with the other students," she explained. 

Micayia already has a taste of what school will look like during a pandemic.

As over 20 school districts go back this week in the St. Louis area, Micayia's mom, Michelle Byrd, has a tip for those about to start virtually.

"Create structure," she said. "We have a dry erase board with her schedule, so she knows what time she is in class. It’ll be better for them and the student if there is structure created."

For Jim Kerber, he's having first-day jitters for his seven children in the Rockwood School District. 

All seven are learning remotely, under one roof.

This year, it's not just the learning that looks different. So is the back to school shopping.

"This week we were actually upgrading to faster internet, changing Wi-Fi modems, making sure everyone's desk was set up. Instead of school shopping for clothes, you know, we're setting up each individual kid's home office, if you will," he said.

His biggest concern? Making sure his children stay on track, as well as the social aspect. 

"It's just making sure that they really stay on top of it," he said.

But his best advice to his kids and other parents? To be an open book and communicate.

"It is going to be, you know, harder for some, maybe easier from others, but just let them know that they not only have the communication with the parents, but each other. Making sure that they understand that there is that open communication that this is different," he advised. "The key part is just communicate and let us know what's going on."

Even though it's new, he's optimistic. 

"It's just a little different, but we'll figure it out together," Kerber said. 

Masks will be another thing for kids to get used to. On Monday, masks are required if your child will be attending classes at a public or private school. They'll also be required for children in other public places.

RELATED: Children must wear masks in school, public places in St. Louis County

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