The information presented below is not medical advice.
The best way to prevent illness is to prevent exposure. COVID-19 spreads through person-to-person contact. Carilion Clinic’s Infectious Disease experts strongly recommend that everyone:
Stay home whenever possible.
Avoid crowds and enclosed spaces if you must go out.
Wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask—every time.
This applies to individuals of every age, with or without underlying medical conditions.
School supplies have been purchased, face coverings are personalized, talks with your children about how to keep themselves, their friends and teachers safe from the coronavirus have been had.
What’s left to cross off of your back-to-school list?
Establishing daily routines.
While there are many uncertainties during these times, helping kids get into the groove of a new routine can be one certainty that they can expect to be the same each day.
Check for any signs of illness each morning
If your child has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, they should not go to school. Likewise, they should not be given fever-reducing medication and then sent to school.
Other symptoms to look out for include:
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Changes in taste or smell
- Fever (see above)
- Body aches
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, they should stay at home until they are symptom-free for at least 24-hours.
Before and after school
Before your kids head out the door and as soon as they come home:
- Pack face coverings (include extras in case one gets soiled)
- Pack or refill travel-sized hand sanitizer or cleaning wipes
- Fill their own water bottles to avoid touching water fountains at school
- Make sure they wash hands immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Designate a drop-off location in the house where worn masks can be placed, ready to be washed before being reused
Plan for transportation
If your child is riding the bus, make sure she knows to wear a cloth face covering during the entire ride and talk to her about the importance of following the spaced seating rules. If your child is carpooling, everyone should wear a cloth face covering for the entire trip.
Take time to check in with your child
Changes in routines, processes and procedures at school and at home can bring on anxiety or even frustration. Take time to ask about their day, listen to their worries and communicate that what they may be feeling is normal.
This article was reviewed by Paul R. Skolnik, M.D., chair of Carilion Clinic’s Department of Medicine.