As a parent, you always have a lot to worry about with the start of a new school year. But now you’re facing a new and stressful question: Is it safe to send my kid back to school during COVID-19?
While the option of digital learning exists as an alternative to the traditional classroom setting, for many parents that just isn’t a realistic option. So now you must consider how you are going to keep your child safe at school during the Corona virus pandemic. Here are a few ways to make sure they are ready to learn safely.
Go over basic precautions
You already know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and what to do if you think you or someone you know might be sick. But for all your efforts in teaching your child these things, we know that kids have a short attention span and an even shorter memory. It’s important to ensure they understand what precautions need to be taken and why. Remind them of these three key safety measures:
- Socially Distance – Reduce the risk of contracting Corona virus by staying six feet away from people whenever possible. Remind your kids not to share food, drinks, toys or school supplies with their friends or anyone else. Sharing is caring unless you have to worry about a global pandemic!
- Wear a Mask – Wearing a mask is important to keep potentially infectious respiratory droplets contained while talking, coughing or even just breathing. Get them a mask with their favorite cartoon on it so wearing it doesn’t seem as scary.
- Wash your Hands – Limit the risk of getting sick from touching contaminated surfaces and spreading the virus by washing your hands thoroughly. We all know you won’t be able to convince a seven-year old to not touch their face, but you can reduce the risk of contraction with frequent hand washing and sanitizing.
Go over your school’s safety measures
While schools are doing their best right now to keep kids and teachers safe, introducing 20 children into one room after six months of no-contact is going to bring a level of risk to any environment. Given that children tend to learn best when in a classroom, the CDC has created some guidelines to help keep schools safe during the pandemic.
Your school should reach out to you with information on how they plan to keep your kids and their teachers safe, but here are a few questions you’re going to want to have answered:
- What changes have been made to the classrooms, hallways, dining areas and buses to ensure social distancing?
- Will there be a mask policy for students and staff?
- Will hand sanitizer and disinfecting products be readily available?
- Are the kids going to be using shared equipment? If so, how often will it be sanitized?
- What is the plan if someone tests positive for COVID-19?
- What are you doing about after-school activities?
Listen to your child
This is a scary time for the bravest of adults, so it’s only natural that your kids are going to be frightened in the unpredictable environment created by this pandemic. As a parent, it’s your job to make sure your child is not only physically safe, but emotionally equipped to handle these new responsibilities.
Sit down and talk to them after school, ask them about their questions and fears and be available to provide them with comfort and honest answers to any questions they may have. Whether they are confused as to why they have to wear a mask all day, or scared by the level of caution being used by those around them, your child is going to need your help in coping with these new feelings.
Let your instincts guide you
You’re a parent, you’ve already been doing this for at least a few years now. That experience comes with certain instincts that will help you know what your child needs and how to keep them safe; listen to them. If you aren’t comfortable with your child being in public even with these precautions, most schools are offering 100% online learning. Whatever you decide to do, your experience as a parent should help you feel confident that you’ve made the right choice for your family and your child.