At a time of year when back-to-school sales flood grocery and department stores, the sudden increase in COVID-19 cases across the country has been alarming for many parents and educators. The decision of whether to return to school is incredibly important for the health of your children and your entire community. Before you decide to head back, run through this checklist to make sure your kids will be safe.
Cases in Your Area Are Reduced
As long as there is a coronavirus outbreak in your area, sending your kids to school will not be completely safe. Asymptomatic carriers are incredibly common, and coronavirus tends to spread quickly in enclosed environments like classrooms.
Many states and cities, provide online data regarding the recent number of new cases and deaths. This data may be delayed by as much as two weeks, but it is still a good resource for checking coronavirus spread in your area.
Quarantine Orders Have Been Lifted
Don’t send your kids back to school unless the local stay-at-home orders have been lifted. Some schools may try to reopen in spite of an order from the mayor or governor. As much as you love your academic community, you should refrain from attending classes until your city has seen a significant to total reduction of cases.
Remember that the lifting of a stay-at-home order doesn’t actually mean that the area is safe. Many economies have demanded a reopening against the recommendations of health officials. As long as coronavirus is within your state, you should act as though every point of contact is a potential transmission.
Your School Has Implemented Safety Procedures
Schools that are preparing to reopen are working hard to implement safety procedures for the students and families in their care. Every school is different, but you should make sure that yours is addressing the following:
● Masks for faculty and students
● Temperature checks at school entrances
● Hand sanitizer stations in every classroom
● Reduced classroom sizes and distanced seating
● Open windows and plenty of outdoor recess time
● Virtual classes whenever possible
● Your Family Has Developed Antibodies
After catching most diseases, the human body produces antibodies that can prevent further infections. Testing has shown that coronavirus immunity may last for at least 2-3 months. If your family has already survived COVID-19, you may actually be in a safe position to return to school and interact with your community.
Don’t assume that you have immunity unless you’ve successfully taken a COVID-19 antibody test. Many clinics that offer coronavirus testing also offer antibody testing. These tests involve a blood draw, but they’re incredibly effective at determining whether you’ve already had the virus.
In summary, you should only return to school if your community has successfully weathered COVID-19. If there are still cases in your area and your family does not have antibodies, it probably isn’t safe to leave your quarantine. Talk to your school about virtual options to further your child’s education until the pandemic has passed.