As COVID-19 started to burn across the United States in 2020, many schools transitioned to an online-only learning process. For many months, children learned primarily from home, with in-person school often only available for a limited number of children or a limited number of days of the week. When COVID-19 cases started to decline in June, many places made the choice to bring back in-person schooling for the 2021 school year.
However, with cases rising again drastically in August and September 2021, partially due to the new Delta variant, many parents are concerned about the safety of their children. If you want to send your children back to school in person but you’re concerned about safety, here are a few of the things you can do.
1. If Eligible, Get Your Kids Fully Vaccinated
There are multiple COVID-19 vaccines authorized for administration in the United States, but for children, typically the best option is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is FDA authorized for use in children 12 and up. All COVID-19 vaccines are also authorized for individuals 16 and up, so if your child is in high school, they may be eligible for any vaccines. These vaccines are immensely effective against both hospitalization and death, which makes them the best option to keep your child safe if they’re 12 or older.
2. Teach Your Kids How To Wear a Mask Safely
Masks are another effective way to help kids over the age of two stay safe, especially if they’re not able to get the vaccine yet. However, it’s important to remember that people need to wear masks over both their nose and mouth, with a tight fit around the edges, for best results. Make sure you directly talk to your child and remind them of the safe way to wear a mask. Additionally, if you wear masks safely, your child will likely follow the way you wear them.
3. Check To See What Safety Features the School Is Putting Into Place
Different schools are implementing different safety features. This may include moving certain classes to outdoor spaces, which are safer, taking temperatures upon arrival at school, encouraging general air circulation, and ensuring that children keep their masks on throughout the school day. Your child’s school should put out a list of safety features they’re implementing, but you might need to ask for a full list from the school.
4. Keep an Eye on Your Child’s Health and Be Even More Careful About Illness
Even if your child’s school isn’t taking temperatures or screening every child for illness every day, it’s still a good idea to check on that yourself. If your child has a temperature above 100.4F, which is considered the cutoff for a fever, or they’re having issues like coughing and difficulty breathing, keep them home. It’s a good idea to keep your child home more judiciously than you would at other times.
5. Look at COVID-19 Trends in Your Area
Some areas are having more issues with COVID-19 than others. Certain states and areas, especially those with low vaccination rates, are currently having more issues with COVID-19 in general. In these areas, especially if your child is unable to get the vaccination, you’re going to want to be much more careful when sending your child back to school. Check on COVID-19 trends locally to see whether cases are going up in your area.
6. Talk to Local Parents To Stay Even Safer
One of the best ways you can keep your kids safe is by banding together with local parents to keep your kids even safer. Masks, for example, mostly protect other people; if your child is wearing a mask, they’re protecting the people around them, not themselves as much. Local parents can help their kids also wear masks so everyone is protected.
If you don’t know how to get in contact with local parents, you can use PeopleFinders. An address search can help you find who lives in local homes so you can talk to them about staying safe. That way, you can all band together to keep everyone safe when your children go back to school.
Schools are doing their best to keep your kids safe, and there are plenty of benefits to in-person schooling. However, there are also possible issues with schools due to the pandemic. By doing your part, looking at local trends, and using PeopleFinders to contact other parents, you can keep all the kids in your local area safe.
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