Facts and information about the coronavirus pandemic are constantly changing. Visit the CDC site for the most up-to-date information during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Back to School always brings challenges as well as excitement, but this year’s back to school season has some extra uncertainty. In Northwest Arkansas, schools have changed their proposed schedules several times. Currently, the school year is expected to begin on August 24th, 2020, and to include on-campus instruction five days a week.
From the current information, it appears that young children are not likely to experience serious cases of COVID-19. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that coronavirus cases among young children increased 40% in the last two weeks of July.
Almost 97,000 children tested positive during those two weeks. 179,990 positive results were reported for the coronavirus between July 9th and August 6th. This works out to about 500 cases for every 100,000 children.
Under the circumstances, schools are understandably uncertain about what this year’s school year will be like. The CDC has guidance for schools, and school staff are working hard to provide a safe environment for students.
The CDC has also developed a checklist for parents to help ensure safety for children and families.
Don’t skip your child’s annual well visits and vaccines. Whether your students go to school in-person or virtually, preparing for Back to School 2020 should include getting necessary vaccines.
Talk to your children about the importance of wearing a mask and social distancing during the pandemic. Help your child practice wearing a mask and find one that is comfortable and stays in place over the nose and mouth. You will need 5 to 6 masks per child so that you can change them each day. You can attach a lanyard to your child’s mask with their name on it to help your child keep up with their mask during the school day. You may also want to pack an extra mask in their backpack. When they get home, throw the mask in the laundry.
From the CDC and other sources, here are some suggestions for those going back to in-person classes.
- Check your kids’ temperatures and watch for symptoms like coughing, diarrhea, and severe headaches. If your child has a temperature of 100.4, symptoms of COVID-19, or exposure to someone with COVID-19, do not send them to school.
- Develop a routine for mornings, including not only checking temperatures, but also hand-washing, packing an extra mask, and reminding kids to stay 6 feet away from others whenever possible. Keep it light-hearted!
- Wash hands and put used face coverings into the laundry.
- Talk about your child’s day, noticing any signs of stress and anxiety. Make sure your children understand that it’s okay to have complicated feelings about differences at school.
- Build movement, healthy meals, and relaxation into your family time.
For families choosing virtual options, things might be more familiar. Kids may be used to staying at home and studying online.
On the other hand, your family may continue to face the challenges we’ve seen during the quarantine, from the difficulty of working with kids at home to the difficulty of getting enough exercise without P.E. classes and recess.
Check out some of our posts about keeping safe and healthy at home:
Back to School celebration
Either way, facing the new school year with a positive attitude will keep the focus on the adventure of new experiences.
2020 is definitely the year to celebrate Back to School! Plan a suitable celebration with your kids and take some pictures to look back on.