COVID-19 has left us all with many questions, particularly parents with children going back to school. Marshfield Clinic Health System and its Center for Community Health Advancement had questions, too, which is why they came up with their Back to School 2020 guide. “Parents, guardians, even grandparents, have concerns as our children head back to school,” said Jay Shrader, vice president of Community Health and Wellness. “Whether the students are in the classroom, attending virtually, or a combination of both, there are health topics that should be addressed so everyone is comfortable and prepared going into the first day of school.” The importance of wearing a face mask, proper hand washing techniques, emotional health, vaccination schedule, and tips for learning at home or school are just a few of the topics explored.
The Back to School 2020 guide can be found at communityhealth.marshfieldclinic.org.
Going to back to school in person:
• Make sure your child is up to date with all recommended vaccines, especially the annual flu vaccine, when it becomes available.
• Practice proper handwashing techniques at home, especially before and after eating, sneezing, coughing or adjusting a face cover. Help your child understand why it is important.
• Discuss with your child precautions to take at school:
- wash and sanitize hands often
- maintain physical distance
- wear a face covering
- avoid sharing objects
• Create a daily routine before and after school such as packing hygiene supplies (e.g. face coverings, hand sanitizer, etc.), washing hands immediately when returning home in the afternoon, and washing worn face coverings.
• Practice good face-covering hygiene.
- have multiple cloth face coverings labeled with your child’s name and wash them daily after use. Consider using a lanyard to reduce the chances your child will lose their face covering and send extras, placed in a paper bag. Explain to your child that sharing or swapping face coverings is not ok.
- make your child’s face covering fun so your child is excited to wear it.
- make sure face coverings fit snugly but comfortably, completely cover nose and mouth, include multiple layers of fabric and allow for breathing without restriction.
- practice putting on and taking off the face covering with your child and make sure they understand how it should fit.
- have your child practice wearing their face covering for extended periods of time so they get used to it and are ready for long school days.
- explain the importance of wearing a face covering and how it protects others from getting sick. (It keeps our germs with us and not shared with others.)
- as a family, model wearing face coverings as recommended by local health authorities or by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Explain to your child why wearing a face covering is important and OK.
Keeping your child healthy at school:
- Pack a water bottle labeled with your child’s name to ensure your child remains hydrated during the day. Remind your child not to share their water bottle with others.
- Plan ahead for transportation: Contact the school’s bus service and make sure you understand any requirements or restrictions with your child using the school bus system.
Keep your child at home and follow exposure protocols for your school, if they ...
- ... have a temperature more than 100.4°F, a sore throat, cough, headache, body aches, diarrhea, vomiting or any of these other symptoms.
- ... have been in close contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19.