We know that this school year has been unique as COVID-19 has posed new challenges for the entire family unit. Parents and caregivers are juggling work, childcare and distance learning. With all of the updates surrounding the re-opening of schools, you likely have many questions as schools welcome children back into the classroom, where things will look very different from what your kids might be used to. Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help you and child feel ready to return to campus:
- All children must be up to date with their vaccinations to protect from preventable and infectious diseases such as influenza, measles and chickenpox. If you are unsure what vaccinations your child needs, or have misplaced your immunization records, call your pediatrician. The AAP recommends annual influenza vaccination for all children ages 6 months and older.
- Give your kids multiple face masks and label them so they are not confused with their classmates. Practice putting on and taking off cloth face masks with your child. Please remind your child that they should clean their hands before and after touching their mask.
- Practice proper hand hygiene steps with your child, whether they use soap and water or hand sanitizer. Help remind your child when to wash their hands:
- Before eating (including snacks)
- After a trip to the restroom
- Whenever they come in from playing outdoors
- After sneezing or coughing
- Connect with your child's teacher so that they understand how your child is doing emotionally and academically during these times. Share any specific concerns you have, so teachers can be aware of how to better support your child.
- Please talk with your children and watch for signs they might need mental health support. Call your pediatrician and school nurse if you suspect your child is having trouble adjusting or is struggling academically.
- Remember to make a plan in the event that your child has to quarantine or return to virtual learning due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the community or a case in their classroom.
- Children with special needs are especially vulnerable during this pandemic. If your child has any special needs, make sure to create an individualized plan with your pediatrician and teachers to keep your child safe and engaged.
Information on COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, so rely on trustworthy resources such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and your local health department for updates on COVID-19.
If you have specific questions about your child and their health, contact your pediatrician today!