For many parents across the country, the idea of returning to school can cause feelings of concern, worry and fear. Sending your child back to an in-person learning environment will benefit them but should not compromise their safety.
As the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is still pertinent, it’s normal for you to be worried about your child’s risks of being exposed and potentially bringing the virus home, where it could spread to other family members.
In addition to reducing the spread of COVID-19, it’s essential to consider other safety measures you can take to keep your family safe at the beginning of the school year.
Let’s explore some ways you can prioritize safety as your children return to their classrooms.
Ways to Stay Safe Entering the School Year
While it’s vital that you take specific precautions regarding your child’s safety, keep in mind that school faculty, staff and administration are also responsible for maintaining safety within the school’s walls.
Many schools now require extra safety training for teachers, which helps reassure you that you can be worry-free when sending your child to school. For example, a school in Orlando provided COVID-19 safety training for new teachers, so parents can rest assured that they are doing their best to limit the spread.
1. Stay updated with COVID-19 safety measures and protocols.
Because of the ongoing situation with the pandemic, you should always be informed about the state and federal guidelines to follow. This will ensure you’re following safety suggestions, whether it’s social distancing, wearing masks or getting your family vaccinated.
The U.S. Department of Education is well aware that parents feel stressed about sending their children to school during a global pandemic. They have plenty of resources online to help guide you during this challenging time.
When you’re aware of the protocols you need to follow, you’ll be better prepared to send your child to school worry-free. It may mean purchasing more reusable face coverings or more hand sanitizer. Be sure to monitor the current COVID-19 situation in your local community and understand that schools also want their students to remain healthy.
2. Stay in touch with teachers and administrators.
There are rarely any downsides to fostering a relationship with your children’s teacher. You can stay informed about how well your child is doing academically and socially. Developing an excellent parent-teacher relationship will help your child succeed and stay healthy during the school year.
Aside from ensuring your child’s safety, there are benefits to creating a good parent-teacher relationship — the teacher feels that you’re actively involved in your child’s academic success, and being more involved in your child’s education helps them learn the necessary skills to be a successful student. It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved, so consider reaching out to faculty at your child’s school.
3. Talk with your child about safety precautions.
Regardless of your child’s age, stressing the importance of hand-washing, wearing a mask and listening to teachers will help them stay safe when reentering their school during the pandemic. It’s also wise to explain to your child what to do in emergencies.
For example, natural disasters may be prevalent in your geographic location, so creating some plan to account for those instances will prove to be worthwhile.
Discuss all possible circumstances that may come up while your child is at school. Children must listen to their teachers and school administrators when they need to follow instructions during an emergency.
4. Prepare for safe sports during the year.
Children often participate in a variety of sports and outdoor activities at a young age. They enjoy recess, playing with other children and engaging in physical activities. Be sure your child has a new, well-fitted pair of sneakers for gym class and recess.
The last thing you want is to have them twist an ankle or trip over their laces and deal with an injury. If your child participates in a school sport, you must provide them with the right equipment to ensure their safety.
For baseball, make sure your child has a helmet. For soccer, invest in some shin guards. It may seem like common sense to purchase these items, but it will only help protect your child from facing any severe injuries in the future.
5. Bring your child to their annual checkup with their pediatrician.
It’s recommended that children above the age of three get annual physical exams to examine their physical well-being. Before you allow your child to return to in-person learning, schedule an appointment with their pediatrician to address any health concerns. You’ll be better off taking this safety precaution rather than deal with them later on. It’s also common for children to receive the necessary immunizations before they start school, so make sure their medical care and immunization records are up to date.
By following these suggestions, you’ll be able to ensure your child is safe returning to school during a time of uncertainty.
Keeping Your Family Safe is Paramount
While it’s challenging to ensure that your child is 100% safe at all times in school, these are some simple ways you can protect them to the best of your ability.