As the summer comes to an end, students and families around the country are preparing for back-to-school, which is likely going to look quite a bit different this year.
Some students won’t be returning to physical school at all this semester, and will instead be learning remotely.
For the students who are going back to in-person school, there are the usual back-to-school safety considerations to keep in mind, but also health tips to deal with the pandemic.
The following are some general tips for students as they do head back to school.
Get Familiar with New School Guidelines
There are likely going to be a lot of changes happening this school year, and the more prepared your entire family is for those, the more smoothly the start of the year will likely be.
Familiarize yourself with what things will be like and then go over that with your kids, particularly if they are younger and may need a little more help to understand.
Make sure you have all the items required by your child’s school before the start, too, so you aren’t scrambling the night before. For example, many schools are requiring masks to be worn by students whenever possible.
If you can’t find the information posted anywhere, speak to officials about how they’ll handle health screenings as well as what they’ll do if a student or staff member becomes unwell.
Make Sure Your Child Is Up-to-Date on Vaccinations
We’re talking a lot about vaccinations lately, but the reality is that staying up-to-date should always be a priority. Speak to your child’s pediatrician to make sure they’re up-to-date on what they need. You should also ask your child’s doctor about a flu shot.
While flu shots don’t protect against coronavirus, it can reduce the risk of the flu and the accompanying complications, which can help your child stay healthier overall.
Medical officials are letting parents know that even if your child is doing virtual learning, they still need to have all the necessary vaccinations.
Staying Healthy At School
The school your child attends should already have measures in place to keep everyone in the building as healthy as they can and to reduce the potential spread of germs.
Beyond that, there are few steps your family can take individually as well.
For example, send your child to school with lunch in a disposable bag, if possible. This reduces the risk of germs spreading on a reusable lunch bag.
If you can drive your child to and from school rather than having them take the bus, that is also something that can be beneficial.
Don’t Forget About Other Safety Measures
While health is undoubtedly the top concern on most parents’ minds this back-to-school season, there are other things to remember as far as safety too.
For example, go over pedestrian safety with your children. This can include if they walk to school, or for when they’re walking into school from the car or bus.
If your child is going to ride the bus, ensure they know how to wait for the bus and get on and off safely.
If you’re going to be driving in the mornings or afternoons, around the time buses are out and about, you should be vigilant as well, particularly since most of us aren’t used to driving with buses and students nearby, at least not since March.
Be mindful of the fact that buses make frequent stops, and if you see the red flashing lights of a bus, stop right away.
When you’re in or near school zones, follow the posted speed limits.
If your child is going to walk to school, they should be taught to use the sidewalk if possible, and if there isn’t one, they should walk near the curb and facing oncoming traffic.
Finally, kids are facing a lot of emotional concerns right now, and as parents it’s important we’re mindful of those. Children may be feeling nervous about school in general, and the added stress of the changes the coronavirus is bringing to school life can amplify that.
Remember to check in with your child frequently as they start a new school year.
Ask questions, engage them, and try to get a feel for what they’re experiencing at school.
Let your kids share things with you, and you can be a sounding board and a reassurance for them.
It’s a challenging time for everyone, and it’s important to continue to keep that in mind.