For many parents, it can be tough to understand when, if and how their children are going to attend school this year. Whether your child is going to be physically attending school or learning remotely, here are some things you can do to make sure they are protected from the coronavirus and engaged in their studies.

In-Person Schooling

State officials have decided to bring students back to the classroom this fall. Most Texas schools will be returning to in-person learning, but what that looks like differs across school districts and counties. Some may delay instruction, some may mix remote learning with in-person learning, and some will bring students back to school full-time.No matter what your back-to-school plan looks like, the most important thing is keeping your child safe and mitigating the risk of an outbreak. If an outbreak occurs, state officials in Texas have mandated that local health professionals will determine if a school district needs to shut down and quarantine when reasonable concern can be been established with a spike in covid-19 cases.

Safety Protocols

For any child going back to school, they must have a thorough understanding of proper safety protocols to keep them safe from the coronavirus. Make sure that they understand to always wear a mask when they’re inside of the school, and to do their best to maintain a social distance of at least 6-feet from their peers and instructors. Implore them to avoid sharing their food or personal items with friends and teach them how to properly wash their hands for 20 seconds. Remind them to wash or sanitize their hands after touching shared surfaces, going between classrooms, eating lunch, and after using the restroom. Ask that if they need to cough or sneeze that they do so into a tissue or their elbow. You can help your child mitigate a lot of the risk by preparing them with healthy safety protocols.

In-Person Schooling Checklist

  1. Multiple Masks – buy your child 3 – 5 masks so that one is always clean and urge them to wear one every day to school.
  2. Hand Sanitizer – be sure that they have a full, travel-sized hand sanitizer at the beginning of every week and instruct them on when to use it.
  3. Disinfectant Wipes – alcohol wipes are perfect for your child to disinfect their desktop and area before sitting down.
  4. Pre-Packed Lunch –you can minimize the amount of exposure to other people by packing their lunch every day.
  5. Water Bottle – buy your child a reusable water bottle to prevent them from using the public water fountain every day. Be sure to wash it as soon as they get home from school.

Before Sending Your Child to School

Before sending your child to school, or any other large gathering, you must have an accurate understanding of their health. Actively monitor your child’s health by checking their temperature daily and asking how they feel every morning before school. If they have symptoms of covid-19 (fever, body aches, cough, chills, headache), then get them tested for the coronavirus. If they test positive, inform the school so that they can take appropriate action, and carefully monitor their symptoms and maintain regular contact with their healthcare provider.

Remote Learning

Learning remotely comes with its own set of challenges. If your child has the option to learn from home, or you have opted for homeschooling, these are some steps you can take to help them be a more effective student in a remote learning environment.

Remote Learning Checklist

  1. Defined Learning Space – establish a quiet, distraction-free place where your child can learn and do their schoolwork.
  2. Lunch Break – your child is going to take some time to adjust to the new normal, and you can help by carving out a regular lunch break for them to give them some time to refresh.
  3. Reliable Internet Connection – if your child is learning remotely, then a reliable internet connection will be key to their success. Make sure that it is stable and fast enough to support virtual conferencing tools like FaceTime and Zoom.
  4. Parental Support – learning from home is a challenge for students, but it can be much easier if you offer your support. Remind them that they won’t always be relegated to learning from home and that things will eventually return to normal. If they’re having trouble with a problem or concept, do some research online to help them better understand their lesson.
  5. Social Time – school offers children a chance to connect with friends and learning from home severely limits their ability to socialize with their peers. Look for some creative ways to help them enjoy much-needed social time while they’re learning from home.

Be Prepared for Changes in Your Family’s Routine

It’s difficult to predict how going back to school will unfold, so it’s best to plan for a sudden school shutdown. Talk to your children about going back to school and do your best to prepare them to do so safely. By protecting your children, you can help keep others safe and curb the spread of covid-19 in your community.