Back to school tips for Parents and teachers in the age of covid-19
by Dr Jose Davy
If you are like me, and I am sure you are, you are probably surprised to be living a pandemic. Nonetheless, reality jolts us to act to safeguard ourselves and our young precious ones. I propose the following steps to do just that
• Do not send sick children to school (this includes children with a runny nose, fever, cough, rash etc.)
• Report symptoms to your healthcare provider and seek guidance.
• Hand Hygiene: Teach the children to perform proper hand hygiene. Keepings hands clean is the single most effective way in keeping germs at bay. Ensure that you provide liquid soap and/or hand sanitizer. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds. Hands must be washed before and after meals, after using the bathroom, after coughing or if visible soiled.
• Cough etiquette: Cough into tissue and discard. Remember to wash hands after discarding tissue. The same applies for sneezing if you catch it in time.
• Physical contact: Ask the children to avoid touching their own faces and that of others. Physical distancing is a concept that is quite hard for small children to understand and almost impossible in a classroom setting.
Teenagers and young adults may do better at maintaining the proposed 6 feet of distancing.
• Avoid sharing supplies such as pens, pencils, crayons, cups, water-bottles etc.
• Large gatherings such as assemblies should be avoided for the moment. Schools should consider scheduling break and lunch so that all the classes are not out at once.
• Ventilation of classrooms- open windows and doors wherever possible. Natural sunlight aids in killing some viruses and bacteria. The flow of air through the room will help to move lingering microbes out of the room.
• Schools should consider adding a sick-bay or a space where ill persons can be isolated from others until transfer to a healthcare setting is possible.
• Schools should consider the suspension of contact sports or do so on very limited occasions.
• Ensure that the cleaners are given adequate supplies. Furniture should be cleaned daily with alcohol- based solution and floors mopped with bleach solution (1-part bleach, 9 parts water).
With that I wish everyone the best of health.