GOING BACK TO SCHOOL IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC: A NECESSARY GUIDE
In March 2020, the ongoing pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization. It was caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome called the coronavirus. The virus was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. A lockdown there and in other cities in the Hubei province failed to contain the outbreak, so it spread to other parts of China and then around the world. It changed the way we connected, communicated and exist, on a global level. Lockdowns, social distancing, face masks and sanitizing became necessary safety requirements as death tolls rose at alarming rates. Even schooling for kids moved from zoom classes to intermittent in person attendance at schools.
Vaccines were produced and administered around the world so people could get back a semblance of normalcy but in reality, nothing is ever going to be the same, not how we come in contact with people nor how we define “living safely”, moving forward.
We haven’t been able to eradicate the virus because new variants come up every day and truth be told, there are still divided opinions around the validity of the virus (regardless of the millions that have passed away due to contacting it), if wearing face masks should be a choice and not a mandate, as well as if the vaccines actually work or it’s just injecting poison into the body. Regardless of where you stand on the spectrum of opinions and beliefs, one thing for sure is you want your kids to be and feel safe while they return to school. Their health is your priority because you don’t want to lose them to ignorance, negligence or even a lapse in judgment on either yours, or the schools part. We will be outlining key things to be aware of and necessary precautions to take so your kids thrive in safety, as they return to school.
First off, it’s important to note that the decision on what school and learning looks like, is usually made on a local level by school boards and government officials. Overall, schools largely choose from three options. The “distance learning” option, where all instructions are done remotely, using technology and other tools. Kids basically do their learning via zoom. The “In-person schooling” option, similar to traditional schooling, adds a new set of enhanced health and safety precautions and procedures, while the last option, being the “Hybrid schooling” option, includes merging elements of both distance and in-person schooling. In Nigeria, moving forward, schools may choose to adopt one or more of these approaches during the course of the coming school year, depending on the state of the world, in terms of the pandemic and new variants as well as government directives. Being prepared for a variety of schooling environments can empower you and your kids as well as generally reduce anxiety.
Similar to social distancing, it’s about getting the kids to be conscious and abreast of what the virus is and how it spreads so when they mingle with other kids in school, they do so staying mindful to be as safe as possible. Truth be told, social distancing cannot be fully implemented as regards in person learning in schools so even if the kids are together, they should learn how to maintain individual and group safety guidelines so there isn’t an outbreak.
This has been proven to drastically reduce the spread of the virus so your kids should wear face masks. It is advisable to get cloth masks and multiples of them like our colorful “Reusable Cotton Nose” mask that comes in packs of three. These masks should be regularly washed and never shared. They should also be labelled properly for easy identification. Let the children understand that having masks on will keep them safe and healthy in order to learn and excel.
Practice hand-washing at home with your children and explain why it's important to wash their hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds, especially before and after eating, coughing/sneezing, or adjusting a face mask. To prevent rushing, suggest washing hands for as long as it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice. When hand-washing isn't available, suggest that your kids use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Also, explain that he or she should avoid touching his or her eyes, nose, and mouth.
If your kids attend in-person schooling, develop daily routines before and after school that foster healthy habits, such as packing a back-up face mask and hand sanitizer in the morning and washing their hands as soon as they come home.
It’s also important to make sure that you clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces so as to help reduce the risk of illness. This includes frequently touched items such as doorknobs, faucets, keyboards, tablets and phones. Find out if the school is also putting this into practice and if not, suggest it to them for the general safety of the kids.
IF SICK, STAY HOME
If you discover that your kids are beginning to show signs of the virus, do not allow them go to school. Let them stay home, get tested to be sure, and then get better with the necessary medication, to avoid them passing it on to other children in school.
On a final note, you need to consider what to do if your kids, or a child at school, contact the virus at any point. We know that prevention is better than cure but in such a case as this, planning for all possible scenarios becomes vital.
First off, develop an isolation plan to protect other family and household members who are at risk, so everybody is safe while the child is recovering. Plan ahead for periods of quarantine or school closures and also find out how the school will communicate with families when a positive case or exposure to someone with covid happens as well as how they plan to maintain student privacy, in such cases.
Adhering to all these steps will keep the children and the household safe, even as they go to school and learn.
Remember to get our premium nose masks as well as other back to school essentials your kids require, when you visit Ruff ‘n’ Tumble stores or the Online store.