The return to school this year is a bit more complicated than usual, the choice of all virtual or going back in person for a hybrid model was not in our vocabulary 9 months ago. A frequent question we hear is whether or not it is safe to have kids return to school and there really isn’t a single answer to this question as every family lives with different circumstances and risk tolerance. Each family needs to determine what works best for their kids and the family as a whole when choosing between a hybrid model or all remote learning. Whatever you choose, be confident that you are making the best choice for your family.
Here are some tips for a smooth transition back to school.
The kids have been home for a very long time and some are anxious to get back into school and some are anxious about getting back into school. Emphasize that schools are working very hard to have a safe environment with everyone wearing masks, social distancing and an amazing amount of plexiglass in some schools. Our community’s infection rate is very low, below 1%, so this is the perfect time to get school started.
Have a routine for each school day regardless if it is an in person day or a virtual learning day. Have a regular bedtime and wake up time. Do not let your adolescent become nocturnal as that leads to poor physical and mental health and poor school performance. Start the school sleep routine a week before school starts.
There will be new rules and procedures for dealing with illness in the schools. School nurses are being instructed to send home any child with symptoms that could be COVID-19. Unfortunately, there are many symptoms associated with COVID-19 including fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, stomach ache, diarrhea and vomiting. Yep, that list is long and includes symptoms associated with nearly all illnesses kids get including allergies. As always, we anticipate the start of school to bring the start of colds/strep throat/viral illnesses, etc. In the time of COVID-19 and social distancing and masking, we are also hoping illnesses won’t be as widespread and frequent as we are used to seeing. However, there will be a heightened sense of concern if your child does become ill. Expect your child to be sent home and to stay home until all symptoms resolve. Schools will be requiring a negative COVID-19 test in order to return to school after any illness, even strep throat. We will have an increased number of sick visits available each day to be able to see and evaluate each child. Additionally, we are doing our best to have enough COVID-19 swabs to be able to meet our patients needs.
If your child has seasonal allergies in the fall, start allergy medication now and continue it until there is snow on the ground or until your child’s allergy symptoms usually resolve. This is the year for everyone to get a flu shot, so make an appointment with us to get everyone vaccinated so that we have a mild flu season. We hope to have flu shots soon and will start with flu shot clinics as soon as we can. Getting the flu shot by the end of October should be everyone’s goal.
Regardless if your kids are doing all virtual school or going back to school with the hybrid model, having a confident and positive attitude for the coming school year is very important as our kids are listening to us. For the young kids going back to preschool or daycare, a quick confident goodbye is important. It lets kids know that you are sure they will have a good day and you are not worried about leaving them. The COVID-19 pandemic presents a situation where we can teach our kids a great lesson; we can’t control life but we can control our response to life. If we are upbeat and emphasize the positive then we are all much much happier and able to handle life’s difficulties. Here’s to a great school year!