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.
Families with school-age children face many challenges as they try to balance education, safety and household economics when determining how to approach the coming school year.
Fortunately, young children generally want to please their parents and teachers, so they’ll do their best to Prepare for In-Person Classes: Grades K-5.
Older students, on the other hand, begin to feel invincible in middle and high school, when risky behaviors such as sexual activity and alcohol, tobacco and drug use enter the picture.
That kind of false sense of security may prevent adolescents and teens from practicing the social distancing measures that are necessary to control the spread of coronavirus:
- Maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from friends and teachers
- Keeping a facemask on whenever they are indoors
- Keeping a facemask on outdoors if social distancing is not possible
- Practicing frequent, thorough hand hygiene
- How easily it can spread, especially in crowds and enclosed spaces
- How much is still unknown about the long-term effects of the illness
- How vital the three prevention measures are to stop the spread
Respect for and adherence to additional measures schools put in place are essential too. These may include but are not limited to:
- Temperature checks at the door
- Strict social distancing procedures
- A ban on sharing food or drinks, school supplies or personal items
- Staggered or classroom-based lunches
The CDC’s guidelines for schools reopening serve as a thorough checklist to see how prepared your children’s school is.
As the school year goes on, regular communication is key, not just to reinforce the guidelines, but also to:
- Allow your child to voice his or her fears
- Help them feel informed and empowered
- Keep you informed about compliance and changes at the school
- Create a calm environment away from rumors and speculation
Tweens and teens are just a few years away from adulthood. They have an important role to play in supporting their community—right now by taking steps to stop the spread of coronavirus.
For more information about how to be as safe as possible in the school setting, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.
This article was reviewed by Paul R. Skolnik, M.D., chair of Carilion Clinic’s Department of Medicine.
As always, and like never before, we're here to see you safely through all your health care needs. Visit CarilionClinic.org/safe to learn how. For up-to-date information about our response to COVID-19, visit CarilionClinic.org/coronavirus.