Opening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges and difficult decisions for families and schools. Some children will take part in distance learning, while others will have a hybrid of in-person and virtual classes. Many parents are wondering how to keep their kids safe this school year and make their kids' transition back to school as smooth as possible.
For children returning to in-person classes, masks are known to be an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Here are a few helpful tips for educating your children on safety:
- Teach your children that their mask goes over their nose and mouth.
- Have a few different masks for your children so you can easily wash or replace masks that become dirty or are misplaced. Many children also enjoy picking out fabrics with characters or designs they like, which makes mask wearing a little easier.
- Talk with your children about what they can expect at school, such as staying 6 feet apart from others and frequently washing their hands.
- Most importantly, keep your children home from school if they are ill.
If your children will take part in virtual or distance learning, you may have questions about how to help them stay focused while not in the physical classroom. Maintaining a routine at home can help with focus, as can creating a dedicated space for learning. Staying in touch with friends through apps like FaceTime or Google Duo are options so your children can remain socially connected, even while staying physically distanced. Peer interaction is crucial for children, especially teens.
Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Minnesota Department of Health websites have reliable and up-to-date information about COVID-19 and returning to school. If you have questions or concerns about safety at school during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should reach out to your family's primary care provider. He or she will be able to provide the best recommendation based on your child's health history and current well-being.
Anna Kellund. M.D., is a pediatrician in Mayo Clinic Primary Care in Rochester and Mayo Family Clinic Kasson, Minnesota.