Going back to school after summer is typically an exciting time for children as they look forward to reuniting with their friends, engaging in fun activities, and learning new things. However, the idea of returning to school may be unsettling for many parents nowadays as we cope with the current pandemic. 

As summer draws to a close and the back-to-school season looms, you might feel some anxiety creeping in as you think about your child’s health and safety. We hope you can find some peace of mind by following this back-to-school safety checklist for parents and kids.

Maintain physical distancing

Physical distancing (or “social distancing”) is the practice that encourages individuals to keep an adequate amount of space from each other in order to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. While schools are working to  implement physical distancing when it comes to classroom seating arrangements and other group activities, it’s also important for parents  to remind children to maintain a safe distance from their peers while in school.

Practice proper handwashing

Proper and frequent handwashing is one of the first lines of defense when it comes to avoiding disease-causing germs and viruses. Teach your little one the importance of proper handwashing. Make sure this habit starts at home by teaching young children how to wash their hands correctly, and having them practice repeatedly. Remind children that they must use soap and water ,and show them how to properly scrub dirt off of their hands. It is recommended that children practice washing their hands  for the amount of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

However, if handwashing isn’t immediately available while children are in school, remind them to keep their hands clean by using hand sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol. More importantly, children should be reminded to keep their hands away from their faces, and keep their mouths and noses covered with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. 

Wear a mask

Just like adults, children are also strongly encouraged to wear masks in public places. As you stock up on your child’s back-to-school supplies, remember to include a mask among your child’s items for the first day of school. Wearing a mask can help reduce the chance of spreading the virus, especially in situations when it’s impossible to maintain proper physical distancing. 

Make sure your little one has multiple face masks available. Be sure your child has a fresh one to wear each time he or she leaves home for school, and remember to pack extra ones in case they need a replacement. It’s important to teach children the correct way to put on and take off their masks. Don’t forget to remind them to also wash their hands before and after touching their masks.

Disinfect school all supplies

Whether your child will attend school in-person or through distance-learning, cleanliness should always be a top priority. Make sure the items your little one uses for school (such as notebooks and pens) are regularly disinfected. It’s also important to disinfect their school bags, gadgets, shoes and any other items they frequently touch and use.

Help boost your child’s immune system

Building a strong immune system is an excellent way to avoid contracting viruses and other contagious diseases. You can help strengthen your child’s ability to fight off sickness by making sure he or she eats a healthy diet. Having your child take supplements can be helpful, but it’s equally important to ensure that your child’s diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Control or reduce your child’s intake of unhealthy foods like salty and sugary treats. It’s also important to prioritize sleep by ensuring that children get at least eight hours of sleep each night.

Keep children home from school when they are sick

The health of your child should be monitored on a daily basis. Keep an eye on your child’s health and take note if they are experiencing symptoms such as a fever, cough,  runny nose, diarrhea or vomiting. These symptoms could be signs of the coronavirus or COVID-19. Do not ignore any of these symptoms if your child has them. 

Make sure your child’s vaccinations are up-to-date

It doesn’t matter whether or not your child is attending school in person or through remote learning from home. Their recommended vaccines should always be up-to-date. Current vaccines may not protect children from coronavirus yet, but they can help reduce the risks of the disease’s symptoms, such as fever and flu. 

As parents, it’s natural to feel worried about your child’s safety as they return to school. Follow these back-to-school safety tips to keep your little one safe and protected in the face of this pandemic. 

For more tips on parenting, please visit Cornerstone Learning Center