Health Tips for Sending kids Back to School

Many parents have various concerns when they have school going children, like after-care, education requirements, and now they have to deal with the pandemic.
Most children, especially younger and special needs children, benefit and learn more when they are at school. Although secondary school children may be able to handle distance learning much easier, they still find it mentally draining to work in such a manner.
Safety Measurements you can take.
In line with the World Health Organization, the South African Government has limited the class sizes, encourage hybrid learning and made mask and social distancing compulsory.
Although there are some of the many guidelines from the government and the schools, here are a few steps that parents can take to prepare their children for school;
• Monitor your child’s health and keep them home if they are not feeling well;
• Teach your children good hygiene and ensure that you practice it as well;
• Teach your children how to cough and sneeze into a tissue or on their elbows; and
• Keep up to date with the schools communication and furthermore support the school in their safety efforts.
Will your child get infected at School?
It is reported by the WHO, that children are less likely to catch and spread the corona virus than adults. Most schools in South Africa have put safeguards in place, which protect learners, teachers and all school staff by;
• Washing and sanitizing hands often;
• Cleaning surfaces after every usage;
• Wearing masks; and
•Ensuring children are practicing social distancing.
What if my child is exposed to high risk health problems?
If your child/ren suffer, or live with someone who suffers from serious health problems, such as asthma or diabetes, then it should be advisable to reconsider whether your child should go to school, thus taking the risk of bringing germs at home.
Most families with high risk family members have chosen the option to home schooling. It is recommended that you confirm with your doctor of your possible risk.
Can I make sure that my child’s school follows the guideline?
To ensure your peace of mind and to help you make a decision, please make sure that the school has the following in place;
•Hand sanitizers and cleaning disinfectants. 
• Ensure that health screenings and monitoring are done daily. This should include symptom surveys and temperature monitoring.
• Wearing of mask. All children, teachers and school staff should wear mask or face shields for the entire day they are at school.
• Social distancing practice means that children have desk spacing and still wear their masks.
• Confirm if your class sizes or groups has been limited.
Although the Department of Basic Education has provided guidelines, schools have figured ways that reduce the risk of germ spreading by;
• Having classes outside;
• Children do not change rooms, they rather have the Teachers go to the classes they have to teach;
• Floors are marked so children know where to stand and walk and children bring their own home lunch packed snacks, of which they eat in the classroom.
Schools that follow these guidelines tend to have a lower COVID-19 spread, but infections can still happen. So find out from your school what plans they have if there should be a breakout, regardless of the size.
What else should I know?
COVID-19 is constantly changing, so we have to learn to be flexible when new research has been discovered. It is best to follow the schools rules, and be willing to make the adjustments.
Keeping yourself informed and knowing what the expectations are from the school, will help you keep your children safe and also keep your family safe. Constantly speak to your children, especially the younger children on the importance of wearing mask, washing of hands and social distancing, without creating anxiety that can also help them adjust to the new “normal”.
Imaan Gallie Soweto Sunrise News