The pandemic is showing no sign of slowing down in the United States. Even when the stay-at-home orders lift, you should still take precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your family.
Provide Plenty of Masks
Face coverings are the best way to reduce coronavirus exposure, especially in closed environments. Your children should be equipped with correctly-sized masks that they know how to put on and take off themselves.
Masks get wet and dirty throughout the day, especially when they are worn by children. Your kid should go to school with at least one spare mask in their backpack. Place the mask in a plastic sandwich bag to keep it clean until they’re ready to use it.
Depending on your child’s age and how well-equipped their school is, you may also want to pack hand sanitizer and a few disposable masks for students who may need them. Coordinate with your child’s teacher to make sure that all of the students will have these essential supplies.
Switch to Disposable Packaging
The environment is important, but so is the health of your kids and their classmates. Coronavirus particles can be transmitted through high-touch surfaces and anything that comes into contact with the mouth. So as good as reusable dishes might be for the planet and your budget, this pandemic is probably not the best time to use a shared classroom sink.
Set your kids up with their own disposable water bottles and lunch packaging. If you want to make their meals at home, sandwich bags are an excellent choice. Disposable plastic containers involve more waste but can be used for larger or heavier meals.
If you’re a teacher, think about the ways you can minimize unnecessary contact when serving lunches and snacks. The big rule is that if you’re sending food out, you shouldn’t be taking particles in; after you wash your hands, stay six feet away from students until the meal is fully served. You should also prepare recycling bins to minimize your classroom’s environmental impact.
Avoid Shared Transportation
Every time two families come into contact during the pandemic, there is a risk of spreading coronavirus particles between their households. This means that a multi-family carpool is actually a very bad idea until the final wave of the virus has passed. Instead, try to drop your kids off and pick them up directly from their school.
For some households, carpooling is the only viable transportation option. If this is the case, try to limit the number of families who are involved. Find one other family who is willing to share germs with yours – and be extra conscientious about your hygiene both before and after these shared rides.
In the same vein, public transportation should be avoided as much as possible. Whenever possible, walking to school is actually a good option; COVID-19 spreads much less easily in outdoor environments. Just remember that children should always be supervised by an adult.
Perform Temperature Checks
Temperature checks are a great way to tell if someone has symptoms of COVID-19. Do your community a favor by checking your family’s temperatures before every schoolday. If their temperature is above 99 degrees, it’s probably a good day to stay home.
Schools can take this a step further by checking temperatures at the door. Remember to use no-contact thermometers, and don’t have anyone stand in line unless they’re outside.
The first school semester of the pandemic isn’t going to be comfortable. Keep an eye out for symptoms, and help your kids maintain a positive attitude. If you work together, you can greatly reduce the impact of COVID-19 on your community.