Right now, a big question parents have is how students can go back to school safely during COVID-19. Professionals say children learn best when they are in school. However, returning to school in person needs careful steps in place to keep students and staff safe. As schools reopen, they must balance the educational, social and emotional needs of students along with the health and safety of students and staff.
To help, below are a few tips for parents to stay safe as their children go back to school:
- Review your school’s safety procedures. If your school is offering in-person learning, make sure you know:
- Will the school be able to physically distance the students and teachers while in the classroom?
- Are students and staff required to wear a mask?
- What is the school doing to clean and disinfect?
- What plan does the school have to prevent large groups of students gathering together at pickup, drop off, and in the hallways?
- What safety measures are being taken at lunchtime when children will be unmasked to eat?
- How is the school ensuring recess is safe?
- How will the school identify students who may have symptoms and safely have them leave the school to quarantine or get tested? Are temperatures taken regularity, breaks to wash hands, etc.?
- Don’t skip vaccinations and well-visits. Well-child visits are not only vital for gathering and monitoring important information regarding a child’s medical, behavioral and developmental milestones and needs, but are also when childhood vaccines are typically given.
- If you or your child have health risks such as obesity, uncontrolled breathing problems, or diabetes that puts you at a higher risk of suffering severe consequences from the virus.
- Masks, handwashing, and physical distancing are strategies that must be used together to decrease the spread and keep both students and parents safe.
- Keep your child home if ill. Monitor everyone in the family for symptoms and do not send your child to school if they or anyone in the family exhibits even the very mildest of symptoms for COVID-19.
- For older children or college-aged young adults, behavior while away from home can affect your risk as a parent if and when they come home to visit. Ask your college-student if they plan to go to bars, large gatherings, or other high-risk activities? Are they wearing masks and practicing physical distancing?
Dr. Rameeza Sheriff, board certified family medicine physician, sees patients at Mercyhealth Woodstock and Mercyhealth Harvard South. For more information or to make an appointment, call (815) 943-1122.