Currently, 500 thousand children in the United States have been infected with COVID-19. Although this number seems high, the reality is that, so far, only 103 children have died from the disease. In a country with a population of 74 million children, half a million infections shows that we have done a good job in protecting our children from the virus. However, the battle is not over. The CDC is working day and night to produce a vaccine for the virus, and although they believe they are getting closer to finding a cure, it is unlikely that the general population will have access to the vaccine until 2021.
School closures are based on evidence and assumptions about influenza outbreaks, as reducing social contact between students is believed to help interrupt transmission of the virus. Because we are still learning about COVID-19, the role of children in transmitting the virus is not yet clear.
At this time, all we can do is continue to take hygiene and preventive measures to keep our children safe. Many schools nationwide are offering 100% online instruction, while others have implemented a hybrid system, where children have the opportunity to take classes 50% online and 50% in school.
In this article we offer you ideas on how to return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic without fear that your child will be infected with the virus. These recommendations will help you reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection in your children as they begin to return to the classrooms.
Invest in good mask
Buy masks that cover the child’s nose and mouth. Many poor quality masks do not provide protection in key areas and do not stay in place. Companies with a good reputation in the market, such as Hanes and Gap, have produced masks that offer adequate protection. Cloth masks are the best, as they can be washed daily.
Washing hands frequently
Remind your child to wash their hands often and not touch their face. It would be good to practice with your children how to wash their hands so that they get used to doing it when necessary. Take time to explain to your child why it is important to wash hands for 20 seconds, especially before and after eating, sneezing, or coughing.
Avoid unnecessary extracurricular activities
Try to avoid activities after school, as the level of supervision may not be adequate. It is difficult for children to maintain social distancing during sports or recreational activities.
Monitor your children
Do not send your children to school if they are sick. Take your children’s temperature before leaving for school. If the temperature is over 100.4, take your child into the house and call the school. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other common symptoms are:
- Nasal congestion or runny nose
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lack of appetite
- Loss of taste and smell
Don’t scare your kids with statistics. Although it is important to practice hygiene and precautionary measures to avoid infection, it is not good to create panic in children. Many children are dealing with anxiety due to the pandemic. The reality is that the level of mortality in children with this virus is minimal.
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