Schools across the country are reopening and it is natural for parents to worry whether it is safe for their kids to resume physical classes. The risk of COVID-19 still lingers heavily on everyone’s minds, and school staff and children are yet to be vaccinated.
The good news is that most schools are continuing with virtual learning and in-classroom presence is only optional. However, if your children’s school has made it mandatory for students to attend physical classes or you have decided to send them to the school for some reason, here are some precautionary steps you should bear in mind for their safety.
- Find Out Safety Measures Undertaken by the School
First of all, rest assured that schools are as concerned about student and staff safety as parents. Every state has laid down Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for schools to re-open with safety measures concerning health checks ups, hand hygiene, mask-wearing, social distancing, and disinfection of premises and frequently touched surfaces. All schools are following these guidelines to the T and even communicating the same to parents.
However, if you have some doubts, you can ask the school to allow you or Parent Teacher Association (PTA) members to check the safety measures in person. Alternatively, the school can send pictures or videos of the same to the parents.
Some of the checks you should focus on are:
- Screening for the temperature at the school entrance.
- Hand sanitizer stations across the school.
- Frequency of surface disinfection of the entire school premise.
- Student crowd management during assembly, mealtimes and play sessions.
- Social distancing markers on the premises.
- Student group size in the class.
- Availability of doctor-on-call.
- Transport and pick-up/drop management.
- Isolation chamber for the student or staff in case of COVID-19 symptoms and till they return safely to their home.
- Adhere to All Safety Rules Required by the School
Your children’s school must have sent a checklist highlighting the back-to-school safety protocols that students must follow. Make sure that your children understand these rules, adhere to them and co-operate with the school at every step.
- Make Your Kids Carry Safety Essentials
This might sound something basic, but do keep a close eye on whether your children are wearing a mask and carrying a small bottle of sanitizer in their bag when leaving for school. If the school permits, they can also wear safety gloves and a cap, and carry surface disinfectant with them. It is also advisable to keep extra masks in your children’s bags just in case the one they are wearing gets lost, dirty or torn.
- Refrain Sick Child from Sending to the School
If your child or any other family member has cough, cold, runny nose, fever or any other slightest symptom of COVID-19, do not send the kid to the school. Doing otherwise would put the safety of your child and others at risk in the school. Inform the school immediately about the reason for your child’s absence. The school may want to take necessary precautions or do some health checks of your child’s teacher and classmates, if the need may arise.
- Be Empathetic to Your Children
Remember that your children are displaying a great amount of courage and a positive mindset for returning to the school. Uplift their spirits and appreciate them for braving the pandemic. Talk to them every day when they come home from school and ask them whether they are comfortable going to school the next day. If they share any serious concerns, take up the matter with the school management.
Have you started sending your kids to the school? Please share your experiences with our parenting community.