Going Back to School During COVID-19

How to help keep your school-age child healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic

(RxWiki News) Back-to-school season can already be a stressful time for parents. Add a global pandemic into the mix, and many parents might be pulling their hair out. Here's how to help your child stay safe.

Many schools across the United States are having to make hard decisions about whether to return to normal, in-person classes, go completely virtual or set up a hybrid system. Already, many schools have decided to try in-person classes again.

While the coronavirus pandemic rages on, going to any place where you might come into contact with others poses the risk of COVID-19 infection. That means schools can be risky.

Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued some helpful tips for parents who are sending their children back to school during COVID-19.

Masks

Wearing a cloth face covering is one of the key strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19. That's why many schools are asking students to wear cloth masks while they're at school.

The CDC offered the following mask-related tips:

  • Keep multiple masks for your child so that you can wash them daily and still have one to send with your child to school.
  • Label masks with permanent marker to prevent mixups at school.
  • Send a container with your child so that they can store their mask in it while they are not wearing it, such as when they eat lunch.
  • Demonstrate how to safely and correctly wear a cloth mask and explain the importance of doing so. Keep in mind that young children may have more trouble wearing a mask all day.

The CDC also noted that children who are younger than 2, those who have trouble breathing and those who cannot remove the mask on their own should not wear cloth face coverings.

Daily Health Checks

Check your child's temperature every day before school, the CDC recommended. If the temperature is 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, they should not go to school and you should contact your family health care provider.

Similarly, ensure that your child doesn't have any of the following symptoms (which can sometimes signal COVID-19): body aches, vomiting, cough, sore throat, diarrhea or severe headache.

Also keep in mind that your child should not attend school if they have had recent close contact with someone who had COVID-19. The CDC recommended following these guidelines if your child has possibly been exposed to the virus.

Vaccines

This year and every year, it's important that your child is up to date on their vaccines. Immunizations help prevent serious diseases like measles and the flu, and when your child is surrounded by hundreds of other kids, having built-in immunity to these dangerous and communicable diseases is extremely important.

Why are vaccines extra important during the COVID-19 pandemic? According to the CDC, being sick with the flu and COVID-19 at the same time could lead to more severe illness. But the flu vaccine can prevent the flu and help eliminate that possibility.

Healthy Habits and Behaviors

Some simple healthy habits can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools. For example, thoroughly and frequently washing your hands can keep you safe from COVID-19 and many other viruses and bacteria.

Also, show your child how to maintain a proper distance in public. Your child's school will likely have policies in place for spacing desks and students traveling through the hallways, but you can demonstrate how to stay six feet apart when walking.

Mental Health

This is a tough time for both you and your child. Make sure you both take breaks and try to relax.

Do something fun after school like going to the park or eating good food together. Remind your child that proper mask use and social distancing can greatly reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.

If you or your child are struggling with stress, depression or another mental health issue, never hesitate to reach out to a mental health care provider for help.

And if you're concerned about staying safe while going back to school during COVID-19, reach out to your family health care provider for more tips.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 30, 2020