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How school uniforms drive sense of community, even online

September 26, 2020

Marianne

Last spring, most of us thought this “COVID thing” would be over by now. Back-to-school would signal back to normal, as kids and teachers returned to their classrooms. Parents (who by now really get what it takes to be a teacher) could get back to work, and the dining table could once more host food instead of homework.

But, no.

A few schools around the country tried to reopen as usual, but most have backtracked, going online instead. The majority of schools had already decided to teach online this fall.

So, who cares about school uniforms if no one is going to the school? School administrators, teachers, students and parents should all care, because school uniforms support our sense of community – something we all need right now.

 

Uniforms create and sustain school culture

Kids and their teacher may be separated – each at their home desk – but everyone is using a monitor. We can still see each other, and that’s the whole point because uniforms are visual, in every way. That’s why schools decide to require them. Uniforms:

  • Represent the school’s brand its teaching philosophy, its personality, its value to the community as a whole.
  • Positively impact students, underscoring that they are an integral part of the school culture.
  • Remind families and faculty that we are part of something larger than ourselves – something that matters.

 

Now more than ever we need to promote school traditions that bring us closer together. Uniforms provide that cohesiveness as well as individual sense of belonging.

Seeing classmates “dressed up” reinforces that this is real school. The setting is different but the work kids are doing with each other and the teacher is just as important as if they were in a classroom and on the playground.

Parents tell us they, too, have missed the special sense of community they get from their child’s school. Seeing their kid in uniform for class time boosts their spirits as well.

 

Uniforms help avoid distractions and related negatives

The visual nature of uniforms means everyone looks the same when they are dressed for school. Online and in the classroom, this eliminates the distraction of comparing who’s wearing what. No one needs to feel inferior or ostracized, feelings which can seriously damage a child’s school performance and sense of self-worth. Everyone is equally part of the same group, and that feels good.

That said, many schools tell us they have relaxed uniform requirements somewhat to match the new “classroom” situation. Ties and jackets are out, for instance, in favor of polo shirts, though everyone is still expected to comply. Some types of custom decorated spirit wear are also increasingly allowed for virtual class wear.

 

School apparel can draw the community together

Quality schools benefit the entire community, not just those directly associated with the school. Extended families, friends and neighbors love to show their support -- for academic and sports teams, especially. So let’s not forget the importance of spirit wear in bolstering our sense of belonging and community pride.

It’s so easy with an online SquadLocker store. You can set things up so every purchase raises a little money for your school, but we’re seeing more and more schools creating special logos around the “community together” theme. This timely spirit wear is great for fundraising as well as boosting school pride. We can help with that, for free.

We’re all just trying to keep it together as we continue to navigate yet more change this fall. School uniforms can play a part in that, perhaps a more significant role than we realize, reminding our students, parents and community that we are – still – in this together.

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