School Openings During COVID-19: How to Keep Children Safe

Children's Health

Aug 19, 2020


COVID-19 has flipped the world on its head, and as some businesses remain closed or at limited capacity, parents and teachers begin thinking about the next school year. Administrators are listening to local government officials and are determining the next steps, but there are still so many questions about what the fall school year will look like. Can your child return to school? Will they be safe? Regardless of your opinion on whether schools should reopen or not, there are a few things you can do to prepare your child in case their school decides to resume classes.

1. Practice Wearing Masks

No matter the age of your child, if they are not used to wearing a mask for extended periods of time, they will be less likely to commit to it when you aren’t there to remind them. Young children can be especially finicky and may play with their masks throughout the day — causing it to slip down, fall off, or stretch out. By practicing wearing a mask properly and for long periods of time at home, you can ensure that your child will think less of it if/when they return to school.

To help your child, wear a mask with them and begin by wearing them shorter periods at a time. This could be for 30 minutes, that turns into an hour, and then turns into several hours. Casually increase the amount of time that your child must wear their mask until they feel comfortable wearing it for about the time they would be in school.

2. Teach Handwashing Techniques

Washing their hands properly isn’t only a useful trait for preventing COVID-19. It can also be used to prevent the spread of other germs. Teach your child how to properly lather and rinse their hands.

  1. Turn on the hot water
  2. Get some soap
  3. Use a little bit of water to lather
  4. Sing a 20-second song while you lather — scrubbing between fingers and around nails
  5. Rinse your hands with warm water
  6. Thoroughly dry your hands using a clean towel
  7. Turn off the water using the towel or an elbow

By incorporating a song into the lathering step, you can make washing their hands fun. Singing Happy Birthday twice doesn’t have to be the only choice for a song. Choose your child’s favorite and pick out a 20-second verse to make the time more interesting.

3. Introduce Personal Space

Teaching personal space is especially difficult for younger children, but the more you talk about it, the more they’ll come to understand the importance of boundaries. This is crucial for their development as well as preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other germs. Regardless of whether your school is able to position children six feet apart, there are still things your child can do to promote a safe personal space.

Show your child how far away they should stand to talk to another student. Show them that they don’t have to whisper in someone’s ear or stand too close to have a conversation. Practice keeping their hands to themselves and show them that they can be kind without the need for physical contact. Talk through the different scenarios that can occur during the day and how to react to them. If their friend asks to borrow a pencil, and they have multiple extra pairs and want to help their friend, suggest giving the pencil to their friend instead of letting their friend borrow it — since some children have a tendency to bite the ends of pencils.

4. Design Fun Masks

While disposable masks are great for single day use, you may save money by buying or making your own cloth masks. If you treat the mask-like an accessory, it may make them more fun to wear for your child. Show your child the different patterns and allow them to choose the ones they would like to wear — whether it’s a pattern online or at the store. If your child is a fashionista, choose patterns that match their favorite outfits. And, because they are cloth, you can wash and reuse them. For extra fun, consider making the masks together and teaching your child how to sew.

5. Monitor Their Temperature

Before sending your child to school, make a habit of taking their temperature. Include it in your morning routine — either right before breakfast or after they brush their teeth, whatever works best for your schedule. The average body temperature is 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit. And, anything above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a fever. Since a fever is one of the symptoms of COVID-19, you should avoid sending your child to school if they are running hot. Other symptoms may include:

  • Chills
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If your child is running a fever or has any other symptoms, you should keep your child home and schedule a telehealth appointment with their pediatrician. Their doctor will be able to determine the best next steps for your child. In some cases, your child may have severe symptoms, including:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

If your child is experiencing any of these severe symptoms, you should take them to an emergency care center as soon as possible. There, a doctor will be able to help your child breathe and get them the care they need in a timely manner.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one believe you may have the coronavirus, let us help you. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.