Sending your children back to school during a pandemic is enough to make any parent cringe. However, if you need to return to work or your child’s school is not considering remote learning read on to discover some ways on how to prepare and keep your child safe from COVID at school.
Right now is a pretty scary time for a child of any age so it’s important to be open and honest about COVID and what to expect throughout their school day. Teach them how to properly put on and remove a mask as well as reinforce when they can and cannot remove it. Ask them if they feel safe each day and take a moment to check-in before they leave and when they come home to see how they are coping with all of the changes.
Wear masks indoors at all times (and outside when in groups or lines)
Sneeze, cough and yawn into their elbow
Wash their hands frequently throughout the day and use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren't available
Wipe down surfaces (like their desk, lunch box, and backpack) frequently with antimicrobial wipes or cleaner. Send them to school with their own!
Have them socially distance as often as possible (we know this one will be tough)
Tell them not to touch their eyes, nose or mouth while at school unless their hands are freshly washed to avoid potentially exposing themselves to germs.
As a parent, it is your right to know what is going on in your child’s school. Ask the principal what he/she is going to do NOW to ensure proper cleaning protocols are taken within the school. These should follow what the CDC mandates.
Find out if the district is hiring additional staff to help keep the schools clean and sanitary. Ask them what will be the system of communicating to parents daily that cleaning protocols and other guidelines are being met. How are they training their staff to ensure things will be clean? Will there be sanitation stations in each classroom?
If you are unable to drive your child to school and they must take the bus make sure to send them with sanitizing wipes as well as a mask already on their faces. Have them wipe down their seat and anything they touch before sitting. Tell them as much as they may be tempted to sit with their friends to maintain a few seats distance between themselves and other students. If the weather and driver allow it, consider having your child open the window so the air circulates inside the bus and near your child.
An alternative to the bus could be carpooling with a trusted family that you know first hand is practicing social distancing measures. Stick with carpools that have just a few children in the vehicle and have them sit further apart if they are able.
Read emails and any notices from the school, and take advantage of any programs that allow parents to give input.
Help your child pack their bags the night before school, making sure they have their mask, hand sanitizer, antimicrobial wipes, and other necessary supplies.
Reinforce good hygiene habits at home to help your children remain consistent at school.
Have your children remove their shoes at the door when they come home and spray the bottom with a bleach/water solution or rubbing alcohol each day to prevent the spread of any germs that may have been on the floor.