2020’s COVID-19 Back-to-School Checklist August 13, 2020
Millions of families around the country are gearing up to send their kids and teens back to school, and many worry about how to best keep them safe as COVID-19 rates continue to increase. After spending much of their spring semester learning remotely from home, many students will need to get back into the groove of in-person learning as they navigate the upcoming fall semester. Fortunately, public health and safety experts have weighed in on a variety of useful steps that families can take to limit risk factors and inhibit the likelihood of becoming ill.
The New Routine
One of the most important things to remember this year is to not send a child to school if he or she is feeling ill or exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19. Keeping potentially ill children and teens home will prevent them from passing germs on to students, teachers, and support staff, which is particularly critical in congregate (or group) settings. Another reason it is so important to keep symptomatic students home is because COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets, which an infected person produces when they cough, speak, or sneeze. Although schools will be taking measures to ensure social distancing and to limit contact, we can all help by taking additional precautions.
To mitigate some of these risks, experts are recommending that parents create a new morning routine. This routine should include taking the child’s temperature to make sure they do not have a fever and to check for other signs of illness, such as cough, fatigue, sore throat, congestion, or muscle and body aches. If your child is experiencing symptoms – even mild ones – play it safe by keeping them home from school and consulting with your doctor. If the child’s symptoms are severe (like if they are having difficulty breathing, have chest pain or pressure, bluish lips, or are exhibiting confusion) call 9-1-1 right away or go to your nearest emergency department.
School Supply Checklist
School supply lists look just a bit different this year as well. Prominent pediatricians across the country are recommending that parents stock kids and teenagers up on the following back-to-school supplies:
- Face masks. Top ranked pediatricians recommend that students bring one or two extra masks with them to school, just in case the one they are wearing gets dirty, is lost, or breaks. If you worry about your child adjusting to wearing a mask for hours at a time, you can start building up their endurance and comfort now by having them wear one intermittently throughout the day.
- Individual school supplies. Schools will not be offering communal supplies so students should bring their own basics like pens and pencils, highlighters, binders, folders, notebooks, etc.
- Hand sanitizer. Students should carry a 60% or higher alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which is effective at killing most kinds of viruses, fungi, and bacteria. When soap and water are not available (like on the bus or while outside) students should use hand sanitizer instead. Using hand sanitizer can also limit how much time a student spends in communal restrooms.
Just like it is important to create a before-school routine, be sure to establish an after school one too. When children come home from school have them wash or sanitize their hands. Next up, they should change out of their clothing and shoes and place them in a designated spot so they can be cleaned or sanitized. Pediatricians say that even though it is not absolutely necessary to have children shower when they return home, it can be beneficial. The last thing that pediatric experts are recommending to families is to do their best to keep a positive and flexible outlook as the new school year – and new health and safety protocols – begins. With all these changes in place, it is only natural that it will take time for students, teachers, and support staff to adjust to this “new normal”.
Not every student is returning to school this fall; some will continue to learn remotely from home fulltime and others may be in-person some days and at home on others. For children learning remotely part or full-time, remember to maintain a schedule, routine, and if possible, provide a designated learning space in the home. To learn more about navigating the fall 2020 session and what other supplies may come in handy, visit https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/27/cnn-underscored/covid-19-school-supply-safety-checklist-2020/index.html/.
If you have a legal question or concern about back-to-school safety, someone at our firm can help. Contact a representative online now.
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