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Sending Your Child Back to School Safely

Many school districts are opening their doors to students again, whether in full or as part of a hybrid model. As we send students back to the classroom, there are simple steps you can take to better protect your children from viruses such as the flu and the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Discuss the importance of handwashing with your children before they go back to school.

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself against germs that may cause you to become sick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related sicknesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020) Remind your children to wash their hands before eating snacks or lunches, after going to the restroom and after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing for at least 20 seconds. The CDC recommends the following steps:

  1. Wet your hands with water, and then apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Make sure to reach all parts of your hands, including under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. (Try singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice for a timer!)
  4. Rinse your hands.
  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them.

For times when soap and water are not available, encourage your children to use hand sanitizer.

Remind your children to avoid touching their face.

In between handwashes, kids are touching pencils, desks, blocks, you name it. These objects, seemingly innocuous enough, may still be covered in germs or respiratory droplets. To avoid passing these germs through mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose and mouth, help your children remember to not touch their face. 

Schedule an annual flu shot for you and your children.

The flu vaccine helps prevent the spread of and severe sickness from the flu! Because the influenza virus mutates from season to season, the vaccine also changes every year to help bolster the body’s defenses against the new strains. Most people aged 6 months or older can safely receive the flu vaccine. If you have questions about the vaccine, reach out to your provider.

Encourage your children to wear their mask and social distance at school.

Many illnesses like the flu and COVID-19 spread though respiratory droplets in the air. These droplets spread when we talk, laugh, cough, sneeze, etcetera. Wearing a mask and social distancing adds another layer of protection between your body and these droplets. <

 Keep your child home when they are sick.

Although the perfect attendance awards are hard to pass up, keeping your child home when is an effective measure to prevent the spread of illness within the school, potentially keeping other children safe.