The spread of Coronavirus has affected all aspects of our daily lives, including what it may look like to return to school in a few weeks. Kids may only be returning to campuses part-time, or to significantly reduced class sizes. What should you do to prepare your kids for returning to school in the midst of a pandemic?
Talk to your kids about COVID-19 and safety guidelines for the pandemic – Children should understand, on a developmentally appropriate level, what a virus is and why we are being careful to protect ourselves and each other for the last several months. You don’t want to scare them, but they do need to understand the importance of social distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands.
Teach them how to properly wash their hands – As we’ve learned over the last few months, most of us didn’t know how to properly wash our hands. Make sure your kids are versed in proper handwashing techniques and that they wash frequently. You can show them a video and review hand washing instructions in this blog.
Teach them proper hygiene practices – Besides washing hands, teach kids to avoid close contact with others, especially if they appear to be ill. Make sure they also know how to properly cover a cough or sneeze, to keep from touching their face, and to use hand sanitizer if they can’t wash their hands.
Provide them with a mask and make sure they know how to properly wear it – Masks should cover both the nose and the mouth and not gap on the sides. Ensure the mask fits and impress upon kids the importance of wearing the mask over both nose and mouth – not below the nose or under the chin. You may want to invest in several masks so that you can wash them frequently.
Provide hand sanitizer – While schools will likely make accommodations for increased hand washing, make sure you provide your child with hand sanitizer to use in the event they are not able to wash their hands (such as when on the playground). You may want to provide them with a mini size they can keep on a backpack or in a pocket, in addition to a larger size they can keep on their desk.
Prepare to keep your kids home – With continued uncertainty about the Fall, be prepared to keep your kids home in the event that they aren’t feeling well, cases of COVID are confirmed at your child’s school, or the schools in your area (or the state) are closed.
If you or a family member would like to be tested for COVID-19, you can schedule an appointment here to come to your nearest Neighbors Emergency Center for a rapid COVID-19 test.