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How To Protect Your Kids From COVID-19 At School

October 21, 2020

For parents and their children, back to school is filled with extra decisions, concerns, and protocols as we help our kids navigate different kinds of learning during COVID-19

The back-to-school checklist in 2020 appears much different than in previous years but preparation will help your child have a successful school year.

A list of recommendations for parents to consider for this year's back-to-school time is created with mental and physical health and well-being in mind. 

The key is knowing what your children's needs are and how to best address those needs.

Some children have headed back to the classroom, while others are continuing at-home education, the checklist below is a guide to consider for your child’s success:

     Table Of Contents:
  1. Talk To Your Child 
  2. Practice Good Hygiene
  3. Teach Them The Importance Of Wearing A Mask
  4. Children Should Bring Their Own School Supplies
  5. Keep Your Home Safe By Implementing a Back-from-School Protocol

1. Talk To Your Child 

Every school year comes with new challenges and experiences and it is important to talk to your child about what to expect and what they are experiencing. 

Frequent and open communication is the best way to gauge how your child's handling the new changes. Remember to empathize with their feelings and be mindful that worrying or feeling overwhelmed is completely normal.

Choosing a positive mindset begins with making the decision to be positive every day. Being optimistic goes a long way when routines at school have been adjusted to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

Be the support system your child may need.

2. Practice Good Hygiene

Wash Your Hands, This is the most basic and easiest health tip, but it is also one of the most effective. Hand washing can lead to a 58% reduction in bacterial count. 

Teach your kids to scrub their hands with soap and water, showing them multiple sides of the hands and fingers they may not think of, and how to properly dry and dispose of their paper towel. Hands should be washed after using the restroom, before and after eating, and after playing outside.

Many schools are installing sanitizer stations which can help with preventing the spread of germs and illnesses. Your child may enjoy a special sanitizer that clips to their backpack with their favourite scent. Make sure to teach them about how much to use and how long to let the sanitizer dry on their hands.

3. Teach Them The Importance Of Wearing A Mask

Start by educating your child on why wearing a face mask is important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Use age-appropriate language to talk to your child about coronavirus. For younger children, stick to simple terms. "You can say things like, ‘Wearing a mask helps keep us safe and keep others around us safe,' or ‘Wearing a mask can help protect us and others from germs,'" 

For older children, you can share more information and refer to trusted resources such as the CDC for illustrations that show how masks can help prevent the virus from spreading.

4. Children Should Bring Their Own School Supplies

What your child will need in their backpacks depends on what materials are passed on by their teachers. Pencils, erasers, lined paper, folders and binders are some of the main staples for all K-12 students.

However, do not expect these types of communal supplies in the classroom as in years past. Contact your child's teachers if you are not sure what your child needs but be prepared to stock up on those items, in addition to pens, crayons, markers, highlighters, glue and scissors.

Making sure your child has his or her own supplies is another way of protecting them and preventing unneeded contact with others. Pack extra hand sanitizer, hand wipes and gloves

As well. 

5. Keep Your Home Safe By Implementing a Back-from-School Protocol

You should be keeping your home as clean as possible. As your children return home from school, they should be disinfecting themselves or with your help when they come through the door.

‘Once at home, at the very least they should remove clothes/shoes and place them in the laundry or in a designated safe place for disinfecting. A shower would be great, but is not absolutely necessary.’ -Dr. Candice W. Jones

When children return from school they should immediately sanitize their hands. Another precaution should be removing all outdoor clothes worn that day. This daily routine will get easier for both your child and yourself, for small children make it a fun thing by singing a song or counting down how fast the process takes.

When you and your child have completed preparations for going back to school, take the time to enjoy the moment with them. Make a fun dinner, enjoy a movie together or just have a nice talk about everything you have done together. Whatever you feel will work best, do just that and enjoy the school year with your child.

*This article is not meant to be taken as medical advice. Please follow the advice of your local health authorities when making decisions about your own health and the people around you.
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