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Monday, November 29, 2021

Sending your kid back to school? Keep these safety points in mind

It is crucial for parents to mentally prepare their kids to adapt to the new school environment

By: Parenting Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: November 22, 2021 2:22:35 pm
schools reopening, sending children back to schools, how to ensure kids' safety in school, health and hygiene in schools, children, offline learning, pandemic hygiene, parenting, indian express newsParents need to assure kids this will not last forever if we follow all the hygiene norms. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Around the country, as online learning shifts to offline classes with physical schools reopening, parents worry about the health of their kids, given the risks associated with social interactions in the ongoing pandemic.

There has been a drop in Covid cases, which has led to some normalcy. Many schools across the country, therefore, have now decided to resume actual classes. While this is a good step, given that children need social interactions and physical activities in their formative years, it is natural for parents to worry about their safety, too.

Dr Gurudutt Bhat, consultant-paediatrician at Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, says there will be standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines that parents, children and schools will need to follow. “It is crucial for parents to mentally prepare their kids to adapt to the new school environment. They will need to sensitise their wards on the following:

– Wearing a mask
– One student on one bench
– Temperature checks
– Repeated sanitising
– Less chances of peer-to-peer interaction
– No sharing of lunch or eating together
– Limited school hours
– No roaming around after school hours ”

Dr Bhat suggests some other things to keep in mind.

1. Following social distancing norms: Socialising will not be the same even after the reopening of schools. With all the social distancing norms in place, there will be a lack of friendly banter between children which is crucial for one’s healthy school experience. Helping your children understand this new school environment will avoid false expectations.

2. Hybrid model: Schools may work in a hybrid model where some element of virtual function or assignments and submissions may continue to maintain minimal contact between students and teachers.

3. Healthy habits: Help children understand the importance of maintaining hygiene during this situation. Encourage them to keep themselves and others safe by washing their hands properly, wearing face masks, maintaining safe distance while talking to friends, etc.

4. Giving hope: Assuring them that this will not last forever if we follow all the hygiene norms will help them overcome these challenging times.

5. Vaccination: The Covid vaccine will be made available to children soon, get them vaccinated. Until then, get their flu shots on a timely basis. Also, going forward, home monitoring of kids would be important. Children should be monitored to check their temperature, pulse rate, oxygen levels, and urine colour.

How can schools and teachers prepare better?

“Water and hygiene facilities will be a crucial part of schools reopening safely. Administrators should look at opportunities to improve hygiene measures. Teachers should administer safety practices including handwashing, respiratory etiquette (coughing and sneezing on the elbow), physical distancing measures, cleaning procedures for facilities and safe food preparation practices. Also, teachers should be trained on physical distancing and school hygiene practices. Moreover, teachers need to be more patient and ensure their mental well-being from time to time,” Dr Bhat concludes.

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