With kids all over the country back at school, many parents are rightly worried. You’re being asked to put a lot of trust in your child’s teachers and administrators when it comes to COVID-19 protection, many of whom are working with limited resources. There are also concerns about kids’ behavior at school. It can be hard to impress upon children the seriousness of following social distancing rules and other safeguards.

Preparing your child for a school year like no other is certainly a momentous task. That’s why parents are encouraged to use the following tips to keep their kids safe and prevent the transmission of COVID-19 at school.

Emphasize Mask Wearing

Maintaining proper social distancing can be difficult in schools with limited space. Masks offer essential protection in these situations, so your child must understand the importance of wearing one every day. Send kids to school with their primary mask and one backup, in case the primary mask is lost or misplaced. Label masks to prevent confusion at lunch and other settings when they will be taken off. Explain the importance of handwashing after touching the mask, and that other people’s masks are always off-limits. If your child uses a cloth mask, wash it every day after school.

Establish Hygiene Routines

Good hygiene begins at home, so your child should have a well-established handwashing and sanitation ritual before going to school. Hands must be washed for 20 seconds at a time using soap and running water, so monitor handwashing sessions until your child can wash their hands on their own. When at school, instruct your child to wash their hands before eating and after using the restroom. Pack hand sanitizer with their supplies so they can easily clean their hands at other times, such as after touching their mask or coming into contact with shared equipment.

Monitor Your Child’s Health

While many children are asymptomatic, others experience cough, fever, sore throat, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, and other symptoms after being exposed to COVID-19. If your child is exhibiting these symptoms or other signs of illness, keep them home from school as a precaution. You should also contact the school if testing shows the illness is caused by COVID-19. Notifying the school allows the staff to track down others who’ve been in contact with your child, so they can take the proper quarantine measures.

The above steps ensure your children and others remain safe during these unprecedented times. Though it may be challenging, behaving responsibly is the best way to prevent transmission of COVID-19, both at school and at home.

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