Back To School During A Pandemic
For some of us, thinking of sending our children back to school is daunting. We can’t help but worry whether it will cause another surge in COVID cases. We are worried about kids being in close contact with one another and potentially catching the virus. We’re worried about them passing it on to parents and grandparents who may not handle the virus very well.
Most schools have a plan in place already. Many are alternating days the kids will be in school along with some social distancing standards and even required mask wearing. But some are still trying to figure out what they are going to do and how to implement safety standards. When you take into account the many different viewpoints on the severity of this pandemic, it makes it much more difficult to come up with a plan that would make parents feel alright with any decision that has been made.
For most children, some simple education in safety is important. Start with the basics:
- Wash your hands regularly
- Follow social distancing rules
- Do not hug, shake hands, or come in physical contact with your peers
- Do not use something that belongs to someone else, or eat after someone
- Wash your hands regularly
Yes, we put in washing your hands more than once because that is important. Making sure children are AWARE and not AFRAID is the key. This is most likely something they can fight off easily (in most cases) but what we are trying to prevent is spreading it to people that cannot fight it off easily.
Mask wearing is something that is personal and sometimes cannot be done due to medical reasons. Make sure we do not judge those who are not wearing a mask, because we do not know why. Maybe you are, which is great, but maybe they are not because they have a breathing problem or anxiety problem and cannot. The easiest way of dealing with it is to not be around them physically. Whether you teach your children not to leave home without a mask on, or you do not even own a mask, make sure that is your decision and you aren’t trying to impose that upon anyone else. Teach your kids the same.
Some great advice is to have a bag with some antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer gel and spray, and any other odds and ends you can easily toss into a backpack. Having something handy will most likely help kids remember to do it.
One issue we have noticed is that the school giveaways to assist parents in getting supplies have mostly been canceled. It is going to be difficult for some parents to come up with the items their kids need to start school. This is going to put more pressure on the kids as they don’t have the proper supplies. It will in turn hurt the schools as most kids will need to borrow and teachers are already strained with purchasing items for their classroom that the school district will not cover.
While you are school shopping this year, buy extra and donate it to the classroom. That way the teacher can give it out to the class that needs it the most and nobody will feel left out just because their family could not afford something. Donating to the teacher is also a great way to get to know them so you can find out what they are going to do to slow the spread of this virus and even give any concerns or advice on practicing safe measures. Let them know what you will be doing to help: for instance, that your child has the proper tools to wash their hands and sanitize their work area right in their backpack.
Another area of concern is parents sending their children to school sick. If your child has any of the symptoms of COVID, they need to stay home and be tested. Most people will do this, but some will send their children to school even with symptoms and making sure your child knows to stay away from them is imperative. We do not advocate your child go tell on everyone with a cold, but maybe bringing to the staff’s attention that a child is ill so they can be sent home is advisable in certain conditions.
Whether you have decided that your school district has this under control and are sending your child back this fall or you’ve opted to home school, we will all still need to deal with this pandemic over the winter when most of us are stuck indoors. Certain precautions need to be taken so we don’t have another huge surge of the virus in our area, and that will remain to be seen in a few short weeks.
Excellent advice! Also, send drinking water. Drinking fountains should be off-limits, and may very well be taped or turned off by school.