Parenting in a Pandemic: What You Need to Know to Get Your Child Back to School Safely

As a parent, there are countless life milestones you’ve been preparing for since you had your first child. Although the first day of school is on that list, no one could have anticipated the circumstances we’re currently under. Some things may be out of our control, but there are ways to feel more prepared for the school year ahead.

This month, we’re sharing our back to school safety tips to help our community stay healthy while navigating through these unprecedented times.

Talk About It

School days look much different than they did six months ago, and change can be uncomfortable. That’s why it’s important for parents to continue explaining what’s happening, setting expectations, and openly conversing with their kids about what this school year will entail. Each child’s age and development have an effect on how they perceive and react to information, so it’s best to take an individualistic approach when having these discussions. 

The CDC recommends you communicate, educate, and reinforce:

1. Communicate: Although you don’t want your child to be fearful of going to school, explaining the reality of their situation will help them take it more seriously. Listen to your child’s concerns, and remind them that they can always confide in you. Some kids may need more nurturing than others through these changes.

2. Educate: Teach your children why it’s important to stop the spread by wearing a mask, washing our hands, not touching our face, and social distancing. Educate them on what a virus is and how it spreads and infects through passing germs, as well as ways we can protect ourselves from it. The less of a mystery it is, the more they’ll understand the reasoning behind what they’re doing at school. 

3. Reinforce: Highlight what you’re teaching them by reinforcing consistent hand washing, face covering, and social distancing while out in public and where it applies at home. By reinforcing these rules and practices, it’ll be easier to implement into their routine at school.

Take Precaution

It feels odd for kids to wear masks and try to keep a safe distance from their friends. When it boils down to it, kids will be kids, but there are precautions schools should be taking to ensure they are doing their part to keep their students safe.  

Questions to ask your children’s school or teachers: 

  • Is hand sanitizer widely accessible?  
  • What changes are being implemented in the classroom and school to promote social distancing? 
  • What’s the daily cleaning protocol?
  • Has the sanitation of shared spaces increased, like the bathrooms, hallways, cafeteria, classrooms? 
  • What’s the risk management plan if someone at school tests positive for COVID-19? 
  • How are you keeping up with the cases and spread in the community? 
  • What kind of PPE is the school providing or requiring staff to have? 
  • Will children’s temperatures be monitored by the school?

This is uncharted territory, and at the end of the day all you can do is trust your gut and take comfort in knowing you’ve done the best you can. Just remember, there’s no such thing as being overly cautious right now—it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Here are ten more back to school safety tips for parents:

  1. Keep up with immunizations 
  2. Visit the doctor for a check-up  
  3. Keep the school nurse up to date on health issues or concerns  
  4. Review safety information with your children 
  5. Demonstrate proper handwashing techniques 
  6. Practice no-contact greetings
  7. Invest in a mask they’ll want to wear 
  8. Pack hand sanitizer in their backpacks and lunch boxes
  9. Take their temperature every morning
  10. Closely monitor for symptoms or signs of COVID-19

Come See Us

We encourage our community to take the proper safety precautions to stay healthy during this time. If a medical emergency of any kind arises, we are open and here to help 24/7, 365 days a year. Our patients are our top priority, and each staff member is highly trained to give you the efficient and effective medical care you deserve. For more information, visit our services webpage here, or give us a call at 405-251-2300.

Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Oklahoma ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.