Educators and medical professionals are making tough choices when planning for the school year. While some schools are implementing virtual learning classes, others are reopening classrooms for in-person instructions, and some schools are combining both methods. For pediatricians caring for children, we follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for schools choosing to reopen and support the education system in providing children with more opportunities to grow and learn throughout the year.
But as a parent, making a choice each day to send your child to school can present a lot of risks because not only can your child potentially catch COVID-19, but spread it to family members and others throughout the community. As pediatricians, it’s our goal to help guide parents during this time and provide them with the tools needed to keep children safe.
Why More Schools Are Choosing In-Person Schooling
Schools that have chosen to reopen their doors for children had to consider multiple factors while dealing with the pandemic. One of the main reasons for reopening during this time is related to how a community handles the pandemic, as each community leader has to make sure that their areas have wide control over the spread of COVID-19. In safe enough environments, schools can reopen as long as they follow strict guidelines on social distancing, wearing masks, sanitization methods, massive accommodations for children with disabilities, poverty, medically fragile, and other developmental challenges that require more specific approaches to education.
Schools that choose to reopen have one of the essential reasons behind them – in-person schooling fosters the most growth and development. For children, developing their social and emotional skills along with their academics, and these schools accommodate those needs through the following:
• Social Distancing
• Hand Hygiene
• Temperature Checks
• Cleaning and Disinfecting
How to Protect Children During COVID-19
One of the most proactive methods to protect your child from the virus is to follow the CDC guidelines on social distancing, mask-wearing, and sanitization. But more importantly, keeping up with these guidelines while your child is at school remains even more essential. Maintaining a healthy environment at home can help slow the spread, and when your child goes to school each day, remember to follow these steps:
Avoid Touching the Eyes, Nose, and Mouth – By teaching them these habits and reminding them of it at home, any surfaces they touch can be prevented until they wash their hands.
Practice Mask Wearing at Home – Wearing masks at home and teaching them breathing exercises can help calm them and inform them about why wearing masks are necessary during this time. Reinforce mask-wearing before they go to school to help them adjust to this temporary reality.
Keep Them Home If Sick – While school education is important if your child begins to show symptoms of COVID-19, then keeping them at home can help slow the spread. If you have any more concerns about handling your child’s sickness, contact your pediatrician for more advice.
For any concerns you may have about COVID-19 and your children, Dr. Veena Puri at Puri Pediatric Medical Group in Fremont, CA, can provide the insight you need to keep your child safe.