As Texas students will be returning to public schools in person this fall, Gov. Greg Abbott told state lawmakers. “It will be safe for Texas public school students, teachers, and staff to return to school campuses for in-person instruction this fall. But there will also be flexibility for families with health concerns so that their children can be educated remotely, if the parent so chooses,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.
If there’s one thing a lot of people have in common, it’s that teachers have had a significant impact on our lives in some way. As educators, they know that learning to build friendships is as important as learning the ABC’s.
Most parents are wondering whether it’s safe to send their children back to school. But with most of the research and testing geared toward adults, the answer is complicated.
To open or not to open schools? While some parents are eager to get back to some sort of normalcy, others are fearful their children might get exposed to infections. Why not take this idea one step further—friends can help each other stay healthy to the anchor chart. Add the friends that suggest to cover their coughs, use a tissue, and wash their hands to the list of things that good friends do. Soon friends will be reminding each other to sing the alphabet song while washing their hands.
Now, let’s all collectively take a deep breath. Let’s grab the Clorox wipes, tissues, and some markers. Keep in mind that you are not the only one who is worried or even afraid. Getting sick can be even scarier for young children. Many children are watching the news alongside their families. Be ready to answer their questions with, “I know a lot of people are getting sick right now and here are some things we can do to help stay healthy.” Communicating with parents and modeling healthy habits with help of friends from school is a positive way to empower our children to keep those germs away!
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued steps to keep children safe when schools reopen, including placing desks six feet apart, ensuring children wear face coverings and the closure of communal areas like cafeterias and playgrounds.
One of the biggest concerns is shared objects, here is what you need to do:
1. Discourage sharing of items that are difficult to clean or disinfect.
2. Keep each child’s belongings separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies, or areas.
3. Ensure adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high touch materials to the extent possible (e.g., assigning each student their own art supplies, equipment) or limit use of supplies and equipment by one group of children at a time and clean and disinfect between use.
4. Avoid sharing electronic devices, toys, books, and other games or learning aids.
As any parent knows, children are little disease vectors. We don’t know precisely how effective children are at passing the virus that causes COVID-19, but it’s a big concern.