Life in an ongoing pandemic is challenging for educators, children, and parents alike. There is still an abundant mix of policies regarding masking and protocols involving COVID. Some locations are going mask-free, while others still require their students and staff to mask daily. In this same vein, some schools are retaining their remote schooling policies, some are opening their classrooms, and others are continuing with a hybrid. The American Academy of Pediatrics has provided guidelines for opening classrooms and what steps parents can take to protect their children.
The Increasing Push For In-Person Schooling
Each day parents have to choose between sending their children to school in public, physical setting. Numerous risks associated with doing so continue to be apparent in the number of schools experiencing outbreaks. Schools are a nightmare as a vector of disease, as anyone who has ever brought home a bug can tell you. When the bug in question is the life-threatening COVID virus, there’s far more to concern ourselves with.
Despite the steps schools take to protect their students, it’s almost impossible to be 100% effective. There are too many bodies, too much exposure, and too little opportunity to control what comes in and out of the school. COVID can exist for days or up to two weeks before it even shows symptoms. During this period, these students may be contagious. When symptoms appear, it may still be a few days before anyone is certain that they represent COVID and not a simple common cold.
This makes following the safety protocols put in place before the pandemic so essential. Schools are important to develop social and emotional skills involving engaging with other people. Doing so safely requires the following some simple protocols:
- Social Distancing – Children should limit physical interaction with other students when possible. This includes proper distancing and not sharing utensils or other items.
- Masks – Masks remain the most significant defense against the presence of COVID and other airborne diseases. The pandemic saw a dramatic drop in flu cases due to masks. Only 700 people died from the flu during the pandemic, rather than the 22,000 in previous years.
- Hand Hygiene – Persistent and consistent washing of hands and avoiding contacting their face are significant methods of preventing the spread of COVID and other diseases.
- Temperature Checks – Checking a student’s temperature daily is essential as it is often one of the first indications of infection. When fevers spike, children can be separated from other students, sent home, or not sent to school in the first place.
What You Can Do To Secure Your Child
When COVID outbreaks are reported in school, speak to your educators about moving to an at-home format. Don’t allow your child to go to school if they’re showing any symptoms of COVID-19, including a spiked temperature. Provide them with hand sanitizer, clean masks, and other protection as part of their daily school attire. You can also contact your pediatric health provider to get further guidance on keeping them healthy while attending school.