After months of debate, your child’s school may have finally decided to open despite COVID-19. If this decision leaves you with concerns about safety and health, you’re not alone. You have options, however, and there are ways to help prepare your family for a very different school year.
Get Flu Shots
A flu shot offers no protection against COVID-19, but your entire family should still get one if your child is heading back to the classroom. Like COVID, the flu spreads easily and can make you quite ill. A body stressed by the flu is more vulnerable to other illnesses like COVID-19, and you could end up with both at the same time—a situation that complicates coronavirus detection and recovery.
Practice Masks and Handwashing
There’s a big difference between wearing a face mask for a few minutes at the grocery store and wearing one all day. Let your child pick out a mask that he or she likes and then let him or her practice wearing it. A few weeks before school starts, have your child wear his or her mask for increasingly longer periods of time around the house. Make sure you wear one, too, since kids mimic adult behavior.
It’s also important that your child understands proper handwashing techniques before heading to school. Show your child how to wash his or her hands, teaching him or her to sing Happy Birthday twice before rinsing the soap away.
Just Say No
Even if your school chooses to open, you don’t have to send your child back. If you feel the risk of returning to class is too great, consider other options. You can homeschool your child or find an online school. You may also want to form a small school group among your peers or apply to a private school where class sizes tend to be smaller.
If you choose virtual or home learning, set up a space just for school work to limit distractions. It’s important to stay focused, but make sure young children get a movement break about every 30 minutes so they don’t get antsy.
The pandemic landscape is constantly changing, which means schooling plans might change too. One of the best ways to prepare your family for the upcoming school year is to stay flexible. Prepare a backup plan in case the school closes again or in case your child has trouble adjusting to the new look and feel of his or her school. Knowing you have a backup plan in place will allow you to pivot when necessary without stress or panic.
COVID-19 has unquestionably caused some chaos and changed the school year, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. With just a few preparatory steps, you and your child will be ready when the school bell chimes again.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan