There has been a lot of debate recently regarding the reopening of schools in the country. Several ministers across States have mentioned how they are unsure and unless they’re certain that the Covid-19 situation is well under control in their city, they’re not willing to reopen schools. To prevent academic losses to children, just like Assam is deciding on reopening schools, Jharkhand is likely to follow its footsteps. Though the final decision is still pending, it’s best to start preparing your children and teach them about the ‘new normal’ at school.
Your children have been at home for the past five to six months and it’s evident that online or web classes come with their own drawbacks. Meghalaya, for instance, has been one such State which has already submitted their reports to the educational committee for protocols to be maintained and followed by the school authorities once they reopen. The teachers and workers are likely to be tested for COVID-19 and only those who come up negative will be allowed to rejoin schools. Sooner or later, schools across the country will reopen. So it’s very important you teach your kids how to safeguard themselves in a crowded and communal environment.
The Importance Of Hygiene & Social Distancing For Kids During A Pandemic
It’s common for kids to feel restless and bored after being stuck at home for months. And chances are, they might actually be looking forward to meeting their friends and going back to school as an outlet for their energy levels. But, sports, classes, and even assembly will be very different once they go back. As a parent, you too need to understand that easing of restrictions does not mean that the spread of the coronavirus is under control. Here’s why it’s so important to explain the necessity for hygiene and social distancing to your kids.
- Hygiene is extremely important as according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), washing hands frequently or using an alcohol-based hand rub minimises the germs on your kid’s hands.
- Since the virus spreads because of fomites, aerosols and so on, maintaining at least 3 metres of distance with one another is really crucial and reduces your child’s risk of contracting the virus.
- Good respiratory hygiene is significant like covering your mouth while speaking or using bent elbow or a tissue whenever coughing or sneezing. By being extra careful you’re not just protecting your own self but others as well. No parents want their children to suffer because of poor hygiene especially during a pandemic when complications might arise and when resources are limited.
- Tell your kids that social distancing is not a cure but merely a preventive measure to slow down the spread of the virus. Staying informed and practising these tactics by both parents and kids are absolutely essential during such times.
6 Things To Teach Your Kids Before They Rejoin Schools
“In my opinion, children should stay at home and do online classes to prevent the spread of the virus because no matter how much we tell them, the truth is they are all sick from staying at home. Children usually like to have fun and once they meet their friends after so long it’s highly likely that they will forget everything taught and will try to enjoy their own sweet time.”
— Sonia Thomas, an Educator from Kolkata
As parents, it’s likely you worry about your child’s well-being especially at a time when a life-threatening virus is doing the rounds. If school reopens, here are some important lessons to teach your kids right away!
1. Avoid Crowds
Remember to tell your kids to avoid any form of gatherings or crowds at school. Though the complete protocols are yet to be released by any State government, it’s unlikely that schools will conduct morning assemblies or contact sports, and sharing arts and crafts of any kind. If your child reports communal gatherings, address it with the teachers and principal and put forth the fact that most kids tend to be asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus, so it’s essential they restrict such activities.
2. Keep Hands & Objects Clean
Sanitisation is extremely important. Teach your kids the importance of proper hygiene. Tell them that they can come into contact with any form of bacteria or virus every time they touch unclean surfaces, use the restroom, touch the stair railings or cough. It’s essential they wash their hands correctly and frequently and use a hand sanitiser through the day at intervals to prevent the spread of germs. They should refrain from sharing books and stationery with other children. Also, as soon as your kids reach home from school, they should take off their clothes and immediately go for a bath using soap and water.
3. Healthy Food
Food from the school canteen and neighbourhood vendors is a complete NO. For the time being, ensure your child eats only home-cooked food and does not share their dabba. Explain why this is important and make school lunches more interesting by giving them little treats or snacks in innovative shapes so that they don’t crave junk food. On your part, ensure you pack fruits and vegetables for your child’s school lunch and serve up plenty of healthy and immunity-boosting foods.
4. Physical Exercise
Any form of physical exercise, a good night’s sleep and engaging activities which do not require more than two people helps keep both a child’s mind and body at ease. Apart from physical education classes at school, make them exercise for a bit at home for 15-20 minutes. Physical exercise keeps their body moving, delivers oxygen and nutrition to the tissues which in turn helps the cardiovascular system work efficiently.
5. Approach The Teacher If Feeling Unwell
As parents and teachers, you need to empower the kids to come and inform the authorities if they are not feeling well.
“I firmly believe that kids might fail at properly maintaining social distancing. If the governments decide on reopening schools, a parent-teacher meeting should be conducted and proper protocols should be laid in front of them. But as a teacher, I ensure that I will always be available to my students if all of a sudden someone falls ill.”
— Soma Hossain, a Secondary Government School Teacher from Kolkata
6. The Importance Of Wearing Masks At All Times
Children aged 12 and above are required to wear masks, much like adults. Younger children are not mandated to wear masks because it may cause breathing problems and they’re too small to understand the proper hygiene that needs to be maintained when wearing and removing the mask. Now, once the protocols are released, you need to equip your child with the know-how of wearing, removing and disposing of their own masks. Explain that the mask should not be removed unless they are in a private space, where the child is along or at a 6 ft. distance from others. Also, for younger children, the option of face shields is always a healthy and safe option.
While the virus isn’t as aggressive in children as it is in adults, their inability to articulate their distress is a greater cause for concern, which is why it’s so important to teach your child the best practices they need to follow when going back to school.