Sending your kids back to school after quarantine can feel scary. Learn how you can keep your kids safe when they head back to the classroom. We’re here with hygiene tips for you, and them, to give you peace of mind!
Quarantine restrictions are being eased by governments around the world and this means a slow return to normality for adults and children alike. Returning to education will be a challenge for many children who have spent the last several months struggling to adapt to a sudden disruption to their routine. As a parent, the thought of sending children back to school during an ongoing pandemic may also be difficult. We’re here to help you keep your family safe as quarantine restrictions are eased.
Post-Quarantine Precautions for Kids
After several months of teaching your child to be cautious about the coronavirus, the thought of sending them back to school where social distancing may be almost impossible could seem intimidating. Fortunately, there are precautions that you and your children can take to keep them and the loved ones they’ll be coming into contact with, safe from the virus.
Talk to the School’s Admin Team
Your school’s administration team should be able to put your mind at ease about the precautions that they are taking to protect children, teachers, and family members. Familiarize yourself with the guidelines they give regarding pick-up and drop-off times and protocols, the kit that children need to bring to school, hand washing, lunch practices and other issues.
Educate Your Child on the Latest Science About Coronavirus
Researchers have gathered data from countries all over the world and come to the conclusion that, so far in general, children infected by the SARS-COV-2 suffers with mild illness and represent 1 to 3% of the reported cases of COVID-19. However, this does not mean that they cannot catch the disease or have severe COVID-19 illness, so it is always important to keep vigilant and continue to take the preventive measures.
The CDC has published extensive guidelines to help schools prepare for children to return to the classroom. Teaching your child about how the virus works, who it impacts most severely, and how they can reduce the risk of spreading it or other germs could help to put their minds at rest and make you more confident in their ability to return to school safely too.
Pack Simple Lunches and Make Hygiene Easy
Your child’s school will most likely have protocols for lunchtime involving hand washing and social distancing. If your child is encouraged to bring a packed lunch with them, choose foods that are easy to eat and that are not “messy”. Consider sending them to school with wipes and hand sanitizers they can use to clean their hands and savory foods that they can eat with a knife and fork or ‘out of a wrapper’. If you’re packing some fruit, consider bananas that can be eaten while holding the skin or pieces of fruits that can be taken with a fork or a spoon, instead of apples or whole fruits that are more likely to be excessively handled as they’re eaten.
Have a Good After-School Routine
Scientists are still researching the effect of coronavirus on children. It is clear, however, that the virus can be particularly dangerous to older adults and those with pre-existing health conditions. To keep everyone in your household and extended family safe it’s a good idea to teach your kids some back to school safety rules.
Tell your children to clean their hands before they get into your car if you pick them up from school. Encourage them to change their clothes as soon as they get home, put the clothes they wore at school in the washing machine, and if possible, it is recommended that they take a shower too. Remind them of the importance of eating a healthy diet and drinking lots of water, and encourage them to stick to rules about hand washing no matter how silly they may seem. Try to set a good example by washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face and wearing the face mask correctly. Ideally, these things should become a habit as normal as brushing your teeth. You want to set good habits, but not make your children fearful.
Make Your Home a Safe Zone
Get into the habit of cleaning regularly touched surfaces around your home; such as door handles, remote controls, light switches and countertops. Consider investing in an air purifier for your living room so that you can be confident that the air your loved ones are breathing has less viruses and allergens. If you or your child suffers from hayfever or asthma, you may want to consider getting an air purifier for their bedroom too, since they can reduce the amount of pollen, mold spores and other irritants.
Air quality will become particularly important in the colder months of the year. Many researchers fear that there will be another wave in the winter as temperatures outside get colder and people spend more time indoors. The phenomenon of seasonal infections is something that researchers have been investigating for a long time. You cannot control everything that happens in the classroom environment, but you can provide a safe and clean environment at home.
Back to School Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility
Teachers and school administrators will be doing their best to keep kids safe at school once quarantine restrictions are eased. You can help them succeed by preparing your child as well as possible for their return to education. Start getting them used to following a day-to-day routine now before they need to go back to school. Explain to them that school may be different to how they remember it and that there may be new rules for them to follow.
The CDC also recommends checking your children’s health every morning, testing their temperatures, and looking for other symptoms of illness like cough, sore throat, severe headache, body aches, vomiting or diarrhea. If they have a fever or have had close contact with a COVID-19 case, your children should stay at home instead of going to school.
Your child may be confused and stressed with the quarantine, but there will be some things about school that they can look forward to. Ask them about their favorite teacher, or about the friends they are looking forward to seeing again. Get them started with studying their favorite subject or remind them of the gym activities. If your child is looking forward to going back to school, the transition will be easier for them.