Back to school -Tips for Safety, Hygiene at school
Aug 31, 2021, 2:00 pm - 3:12 pm
Schools are reopening in several cities. While in some schools, it is going to be for the middle years and upwards, some of the schools are also opening primary years for optional days. Are you planning to send your child to school? Through the pandemic, we have learnt the importance of preparedness, of checklists, of precautions, and that prevention is better than cure.
You will find answers to your queries and ways to reduce the risks of infection for your child here. Dr. Sandhya Ramanathan shall be detailing out key to-dos and don’ts for you and your child, how to prepare, healthy hygiene habits at school, back to school tips, precautions for Covid-19 in schools, social distancing guidelines for schools and what to keep in mind if you send your child back to school.
There are some key aspects to staying safe from COVID. Vaccination is an important way to protect yourself from the virus. India has not yet begun the vaccination for 12-18 years-old and that makes children in this age group most vulnerable to the next wave. Countries like Scotland, US and others have shown rise in COVID cases in a higher population in this age group for the Delta plus variant. We can learn from what has worked for these countries and be proactively prepared to protect our family, especially children.
There are 2 key questions we can ask at this point.
Is your school prepared with precautions, infrastructure and protocols?
Is your child ready with precautions, dos and don’t?
Back To School:Tips for safety & Hygiene at School
We have covered both these aspects here to help you mitigate risks and reduce chances of your child getting infected. Here are some key aspects you need to keep in mind.
Vaccination : The trials for vaccinations are underway in India, and like in countries like US, Israel, UK, India would also have the vaccination for children from 12 till 18years of age. Zydus Cadila has announced that they are in advanced stages of a nasal vaccine for children. Keep a close watch, and ensure that your child gets vaccinated once the drive starts.
Comorbidities : In case your child has any comorbidities, then you should opt in for a Hybrid or Online learning model till your child gets vaccinated.
Masking : Get your child to wear a N95 or N-99 mask and teach how to wear it right. Learn how to go about it here https://www.parentune.com/parent-blog/how-to-get-your-children-to-wear-mask/5293. As per reported data from US schools, The use of masks without air cleaners reduced the aerosol exposure of the receivers by 72%, and the use of air cleaners without masks reduced the exposure by up to 65%. When used together, the HEPA air cleaners and masks reduced exposure to respiratory aerosols by up to 90%.
Ventilation : This has been found to be one of the most important factors, and needs readiness at the school and each classroom level. Ideally, HEPA filters in classrooms ensure that filtered air is in circulation, thereby removing the aerosols. Classrooms should have CO2 monitors. Please ask your school for their readiness on adequate ventilation, CO2 monitoring, and Air filtration in schools. Schools should switch their central air conditioning to 100% Outdoor air ensuring air circulation. Others should secure the best possible ventilation in each classroom. Toilets should have exhaust fans installed and should be flushed regularly. It’s important that the ventilation is switched on 2 hours before and till after the class. Open windows, doors as much as possible through the class and even in breaks. Try to have more and more classes outdoors and in open spaces, including when children eat their meals. In toilets with exhaust fans/ventilation, avoid opening the windows so that the mechanical ventilation can function adequately.
Physical Distancing : Maintain a physical distance of 6 meters between each other at all times, especially while having meals, as children will not be wearing the masks while having their meals. Eating meals outside in the open at a distance of 6 meters from each other is the best option.
Contract Tracing: Ask your school if they have a contract tracing protocol in place. In case they don’t, please create a group between school parents and keep a close tab in case of any reported infection. In case your child comes in contact, please quarantine immediately. In case your child is feeling unwell or showing any symptoms, please don’t send them to school. Also watch this video on Precautions to take when sending your child to school with safety tips by Nitin Pandey, Founder, Parentune who talks of the precautions you must keep in mind when sending your child to school.
Dr Sandhya Ramanathan, Global Health Advocate, Auckland, NZ
Global Health Advocate, Auckland, NZ
| Aug 31, 2021
Schools are already open in SA and there have been cases for both educators and learners. Some children attend school while they are not well. How can this be prevented? Can this be due to screening not done well as schools? What strategies can be put in place to ensure that children are returned back home if they are sick? If one child tested positive in class, does the whole class quarantine? What are the chances of a child contracting the virus if she wears K95 mask and it fits tightly? What measures can we take as parents to help children who become anxious when going school because they are afraid of getting covid?
| Aug 31, 2021
Hello Doctor! As schools are reopening I am happy as I believe at least our children will be back on track soon. But at the same time I am apprehensive whether sending my 6th grader to school will be a good decision or I am putting my child's health at risk? Please help me deal with this confusion.
| Aug 31, 2021
Good Afternoon Doctor! What precautions should we be taking before sending our child to school in terms of necessary items to be packed in their bags plus the instructions for them to follow so that they get mentally prepared meanwhile ? Since they are used to the home environment and haven't been going out as often as they used to before the outbreak of this pandemic, how do we ensure they will be following the safety norms and will be safe at school?
| Aug 31, 2021
Namastey Doctor! What are the pros and cons of sending our children to school at this time when news of third wave hitting India is making rounds from quite sometime. As a parent of two children, a 13 year and a 11 year old, I am in two minds . I am very much concerned about their health but at the same time I feel the online classes lack that seriousness and I am worried about their future if there is status quo . Please guide us whether pros of sending our children to school outweighs cons or is it vice versa? Thanks in Advance!
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