Back to School in the Era of COVID-19
School is one place germs are expected. Hundreds of children touching every surface imaginable as they explore and learn about the world. Up until now, it was simply a given that once school started sooner or later your child would catch a cold, you would keep them home only if they had a fever otherwise it was children’s cold medicine with breakfast and off they went.
Since COVID-19 appeared and our whole lives came to a screeching halt, parents, teachers, and school boards are taking a closer look at their health and wellness policies and practices. In Louisiana, Governor Edwards recently extended Phase 2 until August 28th and the Lafayette Parish School System pushed the first day of school until September 8th, after Labor Day, as a precaution.
Once our schools do reopen, whether it is a combination of online and face-to-face or 100% face-to-face, we need to make sure that we are teaching our children proper hygiene and ways to help reduce their risk of getting sick as well as how to help prevent others getting sick while at school.
- Wear a mask at all times.
Depending on the age of your children, finding a mask that fits properly may be a challenge. If you know how to sew, you would make your own, or there are several options available on Amazon.
- Sneeze or cough into your elbow, not your hand.
Teach your children to sneeze or cough into their elbow. By doing so they prevent contaminating their hands and reduce the distance their sneeze or cough will travel in the air.
- The right way to wash hands.
Teach your children how to wash their hands, making sure they clean the back of their hands as well as the palms and under their nails where germs can hide. It is recommending that you wash your hands for 20 seconds. This is about the same time as it takes to hum the Happy Birthday song twice.
- Social Distancing
This may be the hardest thing for children to maintain. School officials and teachers around the country are rearranging classrooms and adding plastic dividers to help reduce contact between students, but this will only do so much. Teach your children how far 6 feet is by comparing it to items they are familiar with. For example, a typical sofa is 6 feet long.
These are unprecedented times and the situation changes daily. Make sure to stay informed about restrictions in your state and locality by following local news.