As I mentioned in my previous post, our lives had not been the same since the COVID-19 pandemic started and it had affected every walks of life – adults and children alike. The reopening of school is important and hopefully a welcome step for both parents and children to life post-MCO or the new normal. I believe there are tons of questions that are going through your minds that need answers – the risks, school SOPs, and more.
#1 Coronavirus infects kids at much lower rates than adults
Evidence has shown that children are less likely than adults to have symptoms of severe disease when contracted with Coronavirus. As said by Professor Russell Viner, from the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, “Our findings show children and young people appear 56% less likely to contract Covid-19 from infected others”. Not to say that we should not worry about our kids, but amid uncertainties, research like this gives us parents a pinch of clarity and hope!
Going back to school is going to be different (at least for now!) than what you and your kid were used to before. But it is important for schools to reopen as schools do not only provide academics learning to the children, but also social and emotional skills that online learning cannot provide. For some kids, schools act as a safe space too.
#2 School’s role
To stay safe and protect the health of students, teachers, staffs and their families, there are a number of practical measures that schools can take, which includes:
- Staggering the start and end of the school session
- Staggering recess time
- Move classes to temporary spaces or outdoors
- Fewer students in a classroom
- Masks for all adults and older students
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces
- Wash hands!
Water and hygiene facilities play an important part of schools to reopen safely as everyone has to wash their hands regularly, hence school administrators must always find ways to keep improving the hygiene measures. Although checking everyone’s temperature may seem impossible, schools must be vigilant and always be reminding students, staffs and teachers to stay off school and stay home if they have a fever or any signs of illness.
#3 Parents concerns and questions to school
During this trying and difficult time, it is only natural to have a lot of questions, more so when it is involving our children. Although schools’ standard operating procedures (SOP) is set by the ministry, here are some helpful questions you may want to include to ask:
- What steps have the school taken to help ensure the safety of students?
- How can I add value to school safety efforts?
- How will the school refer to children who may need referrals for specialized support?
#4 Pressure to catch up
Some schools practiced online-learning but I believe some students may not have gained much from it and some may struggle even more, with the lack of Internet access and more. Many schools may have planned to conduct extra classes to catch-up on their learning and help them back up to speed when schools reopen. Hence, give extra support to your child at home and help them with whatever you can to make them feel better!
#5 Child’s emotional support and mental health
Going back to school can overwhelm a child especially after months of staying home! Parents and schools should remember that children deal with the stress of the ongoing crisis differently. Hence it is important to create a conducive, supportive, and nurturing environment by responding to their expressions of feelings and questions positively. Show them support and tell them that it is totally normal to be anxious or to feel frustrated. Never neglect their feelings!
So, parents, I hope these could help you prepare and ease your mind even a bit! The number of cases in our country has subsided day by day, but we should always take the necessary preventive measures to keep fighting against it. On another note, happy going back to school, kids! Stay safe ❤