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PROPERTY & CASUALTY
SEP 02, 2020
Back to School Tips
Depending on the school district, children may be starting the new school year virtually, in the school building or a combination of the two. Parents are looking for ways to make these options work well for their kids while keeping them safe from COVID-19. We’ve developed some tips to help keep education safe and productive.
: all safety tips are based on guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These tips for parents, students and school faculty can help ensure the safety of everyone in the school, if your school district is returning to the classroom this fall:
Policies and Procedures
- Schools should clearly communicate their policy on what will happen if a student or staff member shows symptoms of, or tests positive for, COVID-19. The policy should outline the process and procedures the school will follow should such an event occur, and state how and when parents will be notified.
Personal Protective Equipment
– Schools should require students and staff to wear masks while inside the building. Wearing masks helps limit the transmission of the virus when kids, teachers and school staff interact.
Check out this great resource to learn how to properly wear a cloth face covering.
– Schools may repurpose larger spaces, such as gyms, libraries and cafeterias into larger class spaces to allow for social distancing. Parents should discuss the concept of social distancing with their children, so they understand why it’s important when encouraged to do so by their teachers or other school staff.
- Children should have access to hand sanitizing stations throughout the school, and high-touch areas should be disinfected throughout the day.
- Good air circulation in the classroom and throughout the building is important. The age of the building and availability of modern energy systems may dictate how much fresh air is available. Classroom air can be improved by using freestanding air purifiers with HEPA filters.
- If your child takes a bus to school, there should be enough space for social distancing on the bus, and masks should be worn by all children. If your buses can’t accommodate these safety recommendations, parents may want to consider other transportation options such as driving their student to and from school or arranging a carpool with other parents in the neighborhood.
- Research has shown that children kept in small groups (cohorts or pods) are less likely to encounter or spread COVID-19. Ideally, the pods stay within a defined location and specialty teachers rotate to the pods to minimize expanding the contact group.
- Students may be encouraged to bring their own snacks and lunches and eat in their pod location. School-provided bag lunches, and the use of disposable dishes and utensils, are also a good option. Proper hand hygiene should be encouraged both before and following any meals.
Tips for parents to consider to help ensure the school year is productive and safe for their children:
- Designate a distraction-free study space. Students need a space with limited distractions so they can focus, internalize what they’ve learned, do homework, etc.
- Be sure the computer is set up to give your student a direct view of the screen while sitting comfortably. Remind your student to take frequent breaks from the screen, and to stand and stretch throughout the day. For more information about proper ergonomics,
please click here
- Invest in a set of headphones. This tool allows your student to stay fully engaged with the instruction without interruptions from the surrounding environment.
– If permitted by the teacher, encourage your child to ask questions, answer questions when prompted, and engage with other students. This will help your child remain connected to his or her peer group while learning from a distance.
– Discuss the importance of organization with your child. Children are accustomed to easily accessing their school supplies, assignments, etc. in their desk or locker at school. Develop an organizational process that helps them keep information in the right place and available at the right time throughout their school day.
- For older children, consider installing an app that tracks online activity, and set up a time to review it with them. Knowing that online distractions will be the subject of a future discussion is often the only deterrent your student will need to avoid online “rabbit holes.”
- Be sure to have teacher contact information so you can reach out when needed. You may need to clarify an assignment or find resources your student can access. Teachers will likely establish a timeframe for their availability, so be sure to honor their requests.
- Many parents are also working at home during their children’s remote learning school day. Be kind to yourself. “Working lunches” will likely take on a whole new meaning! If your student hits a brick wall when you are occupied with work, encourage him or her to tackle something that comes more easily until you are available to help with the challenging assignment.
With some planning and preparation, you can make schooling options work for yourself and your children. This is a time to be informed and proactive to ensure your family not only stays safe during the pandemic, but also tackles schooling with excitement and confidence.