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COVID-19: Experts Task Parents On These 10 Things To Do Before Allowing Children Resume School

COVID-19: Experts Task Parents On These 10 Things To Do Before Allowing Children Resume School

Whether your kids are heading back to school, full-time or part-time, it is important to keep them as safe as possible, especially as the coronavirus pandemic lingers with no vaccine yet.

Although research indicated that children generally tended to experience milder symptoms associated with COVID-19 pandemic, the real risk lies in the fact that if a child contracts the virus, they can bring it home and spread it to others.

When making the decision whether to send your kids back to school, experts advised considering the following for the safety of the kids and their families.

Consider plans of your kid’s school

“First of all, obviously, consider what the plans are for school and also what the level of disease is in your community and what your family vulnerabilities are,” a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security, Dr Jennifer Nuzzo, told WTOP.

Nuzzo said it was possible to make schools safe for kids but “it all depends on what’s happening in the surrounding community.” She added,

“If coronavirus cases are rising, it’s difficult to make teachers feel safe in returning school and it’s possible schools that reopen could be forced to close their doors again. “Making sure teachers feel safe is going to be paramount in making sure the return to school works for everyone.”

Do a wardrobe refresh for them

Kids are growing all the time and it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think that there are quite a few outfits in their closets that simply just don’t fit anymore. Hence, experts recommended cleaning out the kids’ closets right by getting rid of the old and bringing in the new.

A ton of old clothes that don’t fit aren’t going to do you or your child any favours, so get them out of the way before the first day of school rolls around.

Also, parents are to do some decluttering in their children’s rooms.

Nothing screams “frustration” like having a pile of homework to do and nowhere suitable to do it all. No matter what grade your kid is in, set up space in the home (and get everything else cleaned up, too) with some major organisation.

Stock up on supplies and do some decluttering, Lifehacker suggested, so your kids could have distraction-free work zones that they can work at in peace once those first few waves of homework start piling up. And it doesn’t matter if it’s the first week, it’s going to start happening a lot sooner than you think.

Stock food to prepare for them

Unless you’re sending cash for your kid to eat at school every day or getting a free lunch, you’re going to want to pack a delicious meal for them to eat.

But what are you going to send with them? What if they decide their favourite snack is all of a sudden disgusting? Make a lunch chart, child dieticians suggested so the kids could see what’s on the menu. Help swap things out, and you’ll know exactly what to pack the next day without last-minute morning freakouts.

Ensure they get immunised

Often, parents can forget about some of the most important parts of going back to school: getting the required vaccine shots.

A Lagos-based paediatrician, Dr Bolanle Adeniyi, advised parents to boost their children’s immune system by getting them vaccinated. She said,

“It is important to get our children vaccinated as they resume school. Vaccines train the body to recognise viruses and bacteria and fight against them. In some vaccines, an attenuated or weakened form of the virus encourages an immune response so when the body meets the full strength virus it fights back.

“Vaccines offer the best protection against serious diseases by strengthening children’s immune systems to fight off germs.”

SEE ALSO: CDC Offers Friendly Dos And Don’ts Of Wearing Of Cloth Face Masks

Teach them about face masks use, hand-washing

Using face masks and hand-washing are now popular due to coronavirus. All children over age two years and adults are advised to wear face masks that cover the nose and mouth to stop the spread of the virus. When worn correctly, cloth face coverings are safe to wear for long periods of time such as during the school day.

In addition, frequent handwashing with soap and water is important for everyone. It is important to teach children all these important COVID-19 safety protocols before they resume school to prevent them from contracting the virus.

Schools should ensure physical distancing

The goal for students and adults is to stay at least six feet apart to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, research has found that spacing desks at least three feet apart and avoiding close contact may have similar benefits, especially if students wear cloth face coverings and do not have symptoms of illness.

Teachers and other school workers are advised to stay six feet apart from other adults and from students when possible. Teachers and staff should also wear cloth face coverings, limit in-person meetings with other adults and avoid areas such as staff lounges.

When possible, experts said schools should use outdoor spaces and unused spaces for instruction and meals to help with distancing. For example, activities such as singing, band and exercising are safest outdoors and when kids are spread out.

Also, students and school staff need ready access to soap and water and hand sanitisers. Classrooms and high-touch surfaces like door handles, desks, and playground equipment should be disinfected regularly. Disinfectant products should not be used while children are present, and ventilation is important to keep fumes away from children.

Monitor your child’s temperature

Experts said taking students’ temperatures at school might not be feasible. But you can monitor your children’s health at home and keep them at home if they are not feeling well.

Also, schools should frequently remind students, teachers, and other staff members to stay home if they have a fever of 100.4 degrees F or greater or have any signs of illness.

School nurses can also take the temperature of anyone who feels ill during the school day, and there should be a specific area to separate or isolate students who are not feeling well. To stay safe, school nurses should use personal protective equipment such as N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, disposable gowns and face shields.

Meanwhile, experts advised to have special care for students with disabilities. First, the impact of schools being closed may have been greater for them. And now, they may have a difficult time transitioning back to school after missing out on instruction time as well as school-based services such as occupational, physical and speech-language therapy and mental health support counselling.

Parents and schools are encouraged to review the needs of each child before they return to school, and provide them necessary services, even if they have to be done virtually.

SEE ALSO: How Teachers’ Praise Can Boost Students Positive Behaviour By At Least 30% – Study

Healthy habits start at home

Healthy habits start at home, speaking of face masks, social distancing and good hygiene.

Let’s say you’ve reviewed the items above and you feel comfortable sending the kids to school, you will also need to show your kids how things are done.

See Also

Nayyar said, “Healthy habits start at home. After you’ve talked and talked about the importance of good hand hygiene, face masks, and social distancing, show your kids how it’s done. And hear them out. Returning to school in a pandemic isn’t typical, and you can hardly blame the little ones for being inquisitive, scared, or indifferent.

“But the most crucial thing any parent can do is prepare for the worst. Plan for the possibility of infection. Because even if you follow this list, the fact remains that your child may well contract COVID-19. You might, too. The best we can do is prepare now rather than wait to see whether everything goes wrong.”

Encourage your children to speak up

While children tend to have more mild reactions after contracting the coronavirus, that does not mean they are immune to COVID-19. Research also showed that children can be transmitters of the virus.

That is why it is important for kids to be informed about what to look out for in the event they begin to develop COVID-19-related symptoms.

According to Adeniyi, this starts with encouraging children to speak up if and when they begin to feel like something is not right. She said,

“Common symptoms of COVID-19 include having a fever or chills; muscle or body aches; shortness of breath or difficult breathing; congestion or a runny nose; a sore throat; and/or diarrhoea.

“Kids normally know when they don’t feel right, when something feels different. We need to encourage them to speak out if they feel unwell.”

Analyse whether your family can take the risk

In the end, we can only do much to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19, but we must do what we can. Some families have unlimited resources to withstand the pandemic, while others can’t afford to take any risk. That’s why it’s imperative to understand your unique situation before loading the kids back on the school bus.

A US-based doctor, Dr Geeta Nayyar, advised parents to consider the health of their household.

“Do you live with senior citizens or smokers? Does anyone have asthma, diabetes, or another medical condition? If so, a child who brings the coronavirus home could cause grave problems for other family members,” Nayyar told ZDNET. She added,

SEE ALSO: 6 Tips To Help Your Children Tackle Anxiety As Schools Set To Reopen During The Pandemic

“Then there’s access to care. Sending a kid back to school without comprehensive health insurance coverage could mean suffering beyond the sickness. Can you absorb unanticipated medical expenses? What’s covered under your health insurance plan? And, equally important, do you have a primary care physician?

“Finally, it’s critical to get on the same page. Parents and guardians and kids must arrive at the school decision together. No one should dictate such an important course of action. Plus, if your kids don’t grasp what’s at risk, how can you trust them to safely re-enter society?”

Source: PUNCH





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