It's back to school time! Though it comes with a little sadness since the summer freedom is ending 😥, there's a little fun that comes with buying back to school essentials like pencils, notebooks, binders, backpacks, and...face masks?
I know, it initially sounds a little odd to the ear, but with the start of a new school year during a pandemic, a lot of changes and safety precautions need to happen so that students can learn and thrive in a safe environment. While some schools and universities are opting for remote learning or a combination of in-person and online sessions, others are pushing ahead with in-person classes.
On the bright side this does mean parents will get a little break from their kids being home 24/7, which can be a little stressful when working from home and trying to get work done yourself (cue small happy dance), but it is still reasonable to be worried about this transition for your kids back to school amidst a pandemic.
Although the CDC does provide guidelines for schools to follow to ensure their safety, it's a good practice to reinforce these standards from home as well. So what can you do?
Measure Temperature Before School
It's best to make it a habit to check your child doesn't have a fever before leaving for school. According to Pediatrician Michael Rich, an o2 oxygen saturation monitor (approx. $30-$40) provides additional reassurance as it measures oxygen in the blood. As an early sign of Covid infection is a drop in oxygen saturation, this monitor would further help to indicate that possibility of an infection, even before you begin showing symptoms.
Packed Lunch > Cafeteria Food
Even though some schools may offer contact-free lunches, it's always a good idea to bring food from home as the more sanitary option in reusable bags than can be easily cleaned or disposed of.
Hand-washing Practices Throughout The Day
It's important to ingrain in your students'/kids heads how necessary it is for them to wash their hands at each transition in the day i.e. leaving home, arriving at school, going to lunch, changing class, etc. Basically, they should be washing their hands frequently as if their life depends on it, because it does.
Minimize Public Transport Usage
For those who live close to school, it's a good idea to consider other methods of transportation that don't involve public transit where possible. For example, walking, riding a bike, or even an electric scooter would be perfect for these commutes to get you to your destination safely and with efficiency. These methods help to minimize how often you're in close proximity to others, allowing you to keep a safe distance.
Stay Safe With Face Masks
As your kid(s) will be in close proximity to each other while at school, it's important to inform your kids on the importance of wearing masks to protect other people more than themselves. With that, buying a washable cloth face mask is essential to maintaining their safety while at school. To put a fun twist to it you can even get face masks to express your child(s) personality (i.e. a batman mask). With their favorite mask on it'll help make them a little more willing to keep/wear their own masks and not trade with other students.
Shower Immediately Once Home
Since they've been exposed to other people and pollutants all day, it's recommended to have them immediately shower and change their close right when they return from school. This helps to minimize the spread of outdoor germs inside the home, plus you can never be too clean.
Easy to Sanitize Backpacks
Though stylish, those polyester bags like Jansport aren't the easiest to clean, -unless you plan on throwing the bag in the washer at the end of each day (which honestly, no ones has time or money for all that). With transparent vinyl bags you can easily wipe down their bags with disinfectant for an easier and faster clean.
Returning to school during a pandemic may not feel normal for a little while, so it's important each person does their part to ensure that with whatever form school takes, it remains healthy, safe, and equitable for everyone involved. That includes staying informed with different tips that can help the returning to school process to be a little easier.