In a few weeks, Journey will return to school in person for the first time in over a year. While I am excited to have her get back in the classroom and socializing with friends, I can’t help but be a little apprehensive about her being around so many people for so many hours a day. And so is she. In case you are having the same challenges navigating this back-to-school season, here are 5 tips to safely send your kids back to school.
5 Tips To Safely Send Your Kids Back To School
1. Add safety supplies to their backpack
The back-to-school supply list looks a little different this year. As you load your kid’s backpack with necessary supplies make sure you include these essentials for an added layer of protection:
- Masks – Make sure your child has several clean masks available that fit properly and a clean resealable bag to store them when they are not being worn. Be sure to label them clearly with your child’s name.
- Tissues—For coughs, sneezes, and runny noses
- Gel hand sanitizer— Remember, it should be alcohol-based with at least 60% alcohol. Be sure to avoid these recalled hand sanitizers.
- Hand sanitizing wipes—To clean spills and sanitize hands
- Reusable water bottle—To avoid public water fountains
- Disinfecting wipes—To wipe down their desk and common high touch surfaces
- Extra supplies—Pack extra pencils, pens, glue sticks, and other classroom supplies as sharing should be avoided
2. Follow safety protocols at home
Take a few extra precautions to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 and bringing it into your home. This is especially important if your child or someone else in your home is in a high-risk group. Here are a few strategies for keeping your kids and family safe:
- Do daily temperature checks before school. If it’s over 100.4, keep them at home.
- Have them wash their hands as soon as they come home and remind them to wash them frequently and thoroughly throughout the day.
- Check for COVID-19 related symptoms like sore throat, coughing, and loss of taste or smell.
- Remind them to socially distance themselves and not to share any snacks, gadgets, or school supplies with anyone
- Spray their backpack with disinfectant spray or fabric sanitizing spray when they get home
- Wipe down lunchboxes daily
3. Know your school district’s COVID-19 protocol
It’s important to be aware of your school’s reopening plan. Visit your school district’s website to find out what safety and health procedures are in place to ensure a safe return to in-person learning and preventing the spread of COVID-19. This protocol should include a plan for masks, testing, contact tracing, ventilation, cleaning, and sanitizing.
4. Consider vaccination
We all want to do what’s best for our kids. And for my family that meant getting my daughter vaccinated. I did not want to risk the chance of anyone in my house getting COVID-19 or passing it to anyone else. I will take any precautions that I can to provide a barrier between my family and what is now a preventable disease. I know this is a hot button issue and you have to make the decision that is best for your family. And I encourage you to review the research to make an informed decision about getting your child vaccinated.
5. Check in on their mental health
Studies have shown that the pandemic and dealing with our new “normal” of social isolation, loss, grief, and stressed parents have taken a toll on our kids’ mental health. So it’s important that you leave space for them to communicate how they feel about returning to school in person. Make sure you are there to listen and reassure them that it’s normal to be a little stressed about going back to school. My daughter has already expressed her anxiety. And as I cope with my own fears, I let her know it will take some time to adapt and that I am here to support her in any way I can.