Heading back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic
July 30, 2020
Sending students back to school this year will be different due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Some schools will reopen, some will remain closed. Some students may return to the classroom. Others may use virtual online learning methods or a combination of online and in-person courses.
Whatever your student’s situation, the American Red Cross offers the following safety information based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
GOING BACK TO THE CLASSROOM
Don’t leave it up to the teachers and staff. Teach your children healthy behaviors at home and about what changes to expect at school this year.
Check your child each morning for signs of illness. If your child has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, they should not go to school.
Make sure your child does not have a sore throat or other signs of illness, like a cough, diarrhea, severe headache, vomiting or body aches.
If your child has had close contact to a COVID-19 case, they should not go to school.
Develop daily routines for before and after school—for example, things to pack for school in the morning (like hand sanitizer and an additional cloth face covering) and things to do when you return home (like washing hands immediately and washing worn cloth face coverings.
Advise children to:
Wash and sanitize their hands more often.
Keep physical distance from other students.
Wear a cloth face covering.
Avoid sharing objects with other students, including water bottles, devices, writing instruments and books.
BE INFORMED AND PREPARED
Make sure your contact information is up-to-date at school, including emergency contacts authorized to pick up your student from school.
Be familiar with your school’s plan for how they will communicate with families when a positive case or exposure to someone with COVID-19 is identified and ensure student privacy is upheld.
Plan for possible school closures or periods of quarantine. You may need to consider the feasibility of teleworking, taking leave from work, or identifying someone who can supervise your child in the event of school building closures or quarantine.
Have multiple cloth face coverings for each child so you can wash them and have back-ups ready.
Label your child’s cloth face covering clearly with permanent marker so they aren’t confused with someone else’s.
Have your student practice putting the cloth face covering on and taking it off without touching the cloth.
If you have a young child, help them get comfortable with wearing a cloth face covering and seeing others in face covers.
Consider providing your child with a container (e.g., labeled resealable bag) to bring to school to store their cloth face coverings when not wearing it (e.g., when eating).
Create a schedule with your student and try to stick with it.
Find a space in your home free of distractions, noise and clutter for learning and doing homework. It should be well lit.
Try to attend school activities and meetings with COVID precautions. They may be offered virtually.
Identify opportunities for your child to connect with peers and be social—either virtually or in person, while maintaining physical distance.
If your child participates in school meal programs, identify how your school district plans to make meals available to students who are learning virtually at home.
If your child receives speech, occupational or physical therapy or other related services from the school, ask your school how these services will continue during virtual at-home learning.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.