For many parents, sending your child to school in the midst of a pandemic can be worrying – although you know that it is the best place for them to be. While learning from home is possible, many parents will agree that this is not always the ideal choice for themselves or their children. If your child is back at school, it can help if you know exactly what measures your child’s school is taking to protect students from COVID-19, and have suggestions that you could make to keep your child and their peers safer in class.
Clear barriers and guards set up around the desks in the classroom will help to keep students safe by providing an additional layer of protection when they are sitting closely to each other. Desk guards recommended for returning to school are designed so that students can easily see and speak to each other and their teachers while the plexiglass barrier protects them from any potential infected droplets.
Many schools are limiting the movement of students around the building by asking students to stay in groups that they would normally be in class with. Some schools are also taking this further by having teachers, rather than students, move between classrooms wherever possible to limit the number of students that are traveling around the school at any given time. Other schools have put staggered starting and finishing times in place for each grade to limit the crowds at the doors in the morning and afternoon.
Some schools have made it mandatory for students and teachers to wear a face covering while they are in class and other common areas in the school. High schools and colleges in particular are more likely to ask students to wear a mask, while early years and kindergartens will usually only ask teachers and other adult members of staff to wear a face covering throughout the day due to the lower risk posed to small children.
Many schools have implemented a regular testing program for all students, so that they can catch any signs of the virus quickly and take steps to reduce the risk of infection as soon as possible. Thanks to rapid results tests, it is now possible for tests to be conducted by school nurses or parents regularly throughout the week regardless of whether or not symptoms are apparent. This reduces the risk of children who are asymptomatic spreading the virus in school.
In some cases, for example if your child is high-risk, you will be able to continue home learning until your child has had the vaccination or whenever your doctor advises that it is safe for them to return to school. Your child’s school will usually set up an online lesson plan for them to stick to and try to include them in their normal classes as much as possible while they are learning from home. Some schools are helping with additional costs and technology for home learning, if needed.
It’s normal to be worried about your child being in school in a pandemic. Many schools are listening to parent suggestions while doing everything that they can to keep students safe.