Keeping Kids Safe in Schools
As we know, our children will be returning to school in some facet, whether it be virtual, home school, or in-person classes, this fall. While the situational environment may be unclear, there are many ways in which you can keep your children safe and encourage CDC recommended behavior. Our staff member, Maddison Marshalsea, recently attended a webinar presented by Florida Blue, in which Dr. Wells shared some of the ways you can help your child stay safe returning to school in these uncertain times. From this presentation, we pulled various handouts with information that may help you in your decision on whether or not to send your child back to in-person school, best practices for at-home schooling, and questions you may want to ask your child's school. As noted in the presentation, the way schooling will be held is decided by the local school jurisdiction and their communications with parents.
* While this information was gathered from CDC and medical sources, it should not be considered comprehensive or complete. Nothing contained within this document should be considered legal advice or social guidance. As always, please refer to CDC guidelines for the most up-to-date information, and your local health department for local health and safety guidelines. Please also note that schools will operate differently based upon the decision made by the local school board in conjunction with parents.
The above worksheet link can be used to determine your comfort level of various in-person activities as well as your ability to teach or help your child in a homeschool or virtual setting. Based on your answers, it will help your determine the best way for your child to learn while keeping them safe and healthy.
The above planning checklist link can help you as the parent understand the right questions to ask the school in regards to their planning for learning in a COVID-19 environment. It also includes recommendations on information and expectations you should have in order to prepare your child for in-person school, as well as points and places of contact in the case of an illness. Some of these questions and recommendations include:
- Checking your child(ren) each morning for any signs of illness
- Identifying your schools point of contact in case of illness as well as your COVID testing site
- Reviewing proper hand washing and cloth face covering fit
- Becoming familiar with your school's plan for close-contact areas
- Becoming familiar with how your school will communicate to parents in the event of an exposure to the SARS-COV2 virus
- Communicating with your child(ren) the importance of hand washing, mask wearing, and social distancing
The above planning checklist link can help those who choose to have their child(ren) learn in an at-home environment rather than in-person schooling. Whether the parent decides to implement virtual learning, or home schooling, the checklist provides some actions to take and points to consider when your child(ren) will be learning in the home environment. Some of these actions and points include:
- Helping your child practice self-care: take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, eat well, and stay socially connected
- Creating a schedule with your child and making a commitment to stick with it
- Identifying opportunities for your child to connect with peers and be social— either virtually or in person
- Asking your school what steps they are taking to help students adjust to school and the effect of COVID-19 on their lives
- If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan or receives other learning support (e.g., tutoring), ask your school how these services will continue during virtual at-home learning
- If you anticipate having technological barriers to learning from home, ask if your school or community can provide support or assistance for students without appropriate electronic devices for schoolwork
Even in the at-home learning environment, there still exists the risk for the contraction of illness from other sources. Should you or your child contract illness from school or other places, the above handout link can help with the management of respiratory symptoms and best practices to keep from spreading the illness to others.