COVID-19 Back-to-School Checklist
2020-21 will be a school year like no other and every province will look a little different (just wanted to add in the differences across Canada) with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) being just as important as the three “Rs” (reading, writing and arithmetic).
Here’s a checklist parents can follow to help get their children ready for their “new education normal”, including good health and hygiene habits.
Once they’re back in the classroom, they can practice the lessons they learned at home to keep them healthy and safe at school.
Practicing good hygiene:
One of the most important things parents can teach their children is proper hygiene. This includes thoroughly washing their hands for at least 20 seconds each time.
To make this memorable for the little ones, have them sing happy birthday or another fun song that lasts 20 seconds.
Staying two metres apart:
After being away from their friends for months, it’s going to be difficult to keep kids a safe distance of two metres apart.
Help your children to understand why physical distancing is necessary to protect the health of their friends and families.
To illustrate what two metres looks like, give them visual examples that will be easy to remember such as a hockey stick or tape measure and show the height on a door.
Stocking up on PPE supplies:
In addition to the usual back-to-school items like pencil cases and notebooks, backpacks will be filled with extra items this year to protect against respiratory illnesses, such as face masks, hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies.
You can make face mask shopping fun by inviting kids to choose trendy or child-friendly designs they will be excited to wear.
Be sure to pack hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to kill most types of bacteria, viruses and fungi that carry diseases.
Talk to your children about the proper use of hand sanitizer, along with the right way to wear and care for their masks. For more info, see Know the Facts about Wearing Masks on our Living Well Hub.
Keeping sick kids home:
In the past, parents may have brushed off a few sniffles or sneezes and waved their kids off to school. COVID-19 has changed all that.
Know the symptoms common to the virus — sneezing, running nose, difficulty breathing, headache, fever — and monitor your child’s health closely. If your child has several symptoms common to COVID-19, immediately isolate and call 811 or your family physician.
Leading by example:
Eating balanced meals, exercising and getting a good night’s sleep are essential building blocks for healthy, productive lives. Help your child develop smart, lifelong health habits by engaging them in activities that will enhance their physical and mental wellbeing. Invite them to accompany you on walks; involve them in meal prep and include free time for family fun. Most importantly, lead by your example of healthy, active living.
Focusing on the positives:
Children are like little sponges who soak up everything you say and do. Focus on the positives and model healthy coping. Do regular mental health check-ins with your child. Talk to them about any anxiety they may be experiencing and assure them that their feelings are normal. If you or your child is having difficulty handling stress and anxiety, seek expert help.
Setting them up for success:
In everything you do to prepare and protect your children, keep in mind the adage “education begins at home.” In doing do, you can equip you children with the knowledge and the confidence they need to succeed at school.
If your child will be studying part-time or full-time at home, you can set them up for success by creating an inspiring workspace that best suits their learning style. Invite your child to personalize their space with favourite photos or artwork; choose a comfy seat and task lighting; have all the tools they need within easy reach and use colourful containers to help keep them organized.