Reopening of Schools: Precautions to be taken by Parents & Children
After getting a nod from the Central governing body, schools have now started to reopen in a phased manner in many Indian states. With COVID cases still being reported & schools now being shut for more than a year; it’s only natural for parents to be vary about this development. To understand this decision & bisect the probable repercussions; Dhani’s Brand Head, Vivek Bhatia was joined by Dr. Vrushali Mane (Pediatrician). Here are the excerpts from the insightful chat.
VB: There is news that schools are set to reopen in different parts of the country. Naturally, parents are concerned in this scenario with cases of COVID still being reported. What advice do you have for parents in such a scenario?
Dr. VM: It is correct that schools are set to reopen across different places. We are seeing a phase wise return to school. Parents will be concerned but I would like to reassure them about the low prevalence of COVID generally noted in children. Children are more resilient and recover quickly. However considering all the risks and benefits, these decisions are being taken and precautions will still need to be maintained.
VB: What precautions should children take at school?
Dr. VM: Social distancing may not be completely possible in younger children and in such cases schools can consider the following:
- Creating one-way traffic in school hallways
- Using outdoor spaces when possible for instruction, meals and recess
- Reducing the number of children on school buses
- Spacing desks out and having them all face in the same direction
- Using physical barriers, such as plexiglass shields and partitions, to separate educators and students
- Dividing students up into distinct groups or cohorts that stay together during the school day and reducing interaction between different groups
With regard to use of masks, again certain things can be kept in mind:
- Wearing cloth face masks is preferable in children and should be a priority especially when it’s hard to maintain social distance, such as on the bus or other common areas.
- Parents can have multiple cloth face masks available for the child and provide your child with a clean mask and back-up mask each day and a clean, resealable bag for them to store the mask when they can’t wear it, such as at lunch. They should label their child’s mask clearly so it’s not confused with another child’s.
- Get the child to practice properly putting on and taking off cloth face masks while avoiding touching the cloth portions.
- Remind the child that they should clean their hands before and after touching their mask.
- Instruct the child to never share or trade masks with others.
- Discuss with your child why some people may not be able to wear face masks for medical reasons; Children younger than 2 or children with any breathing problems should not wear a mask
Hand hygiene should be emphasised:
Practice hand-washing at home with your child and explain why it’s important to wash his or her hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before and after eating, coughing/sneezing, or adjusting a face mask. To prevent rushing, suggest washing hands for as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. When hand-washing isn’t available, suggest that your child use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Also, explain that he or she should avoid touching his or her eyes, nose, and mouth.
VB: What should parents do if the child feels unwell?
Dr. VM: It is very important to remember to stay back home if the child is sick with any symptoms of COVID such as Fever, Nasal congestion or runny nose, Cough, Sore throat, Muscle aches, diarrhoea, stomach pain , loss of smell or taste or a pink eye. Some schools may recommend daily temperature readings as a part of COVID-19 symptom screening. Speak to a doctor when these symptoms develop. Make sure to protect family and household members who are at risk of severe illness, such as those with compromised immune systems or chronic conditions.
VB: Any other message for our listeners?
Dr. VM: Please maintain all safety precautions.
Always consult an experienced doctor if your child feel any COVID related symptoms, get connected to a Pediatrician or a COVID care specialist over a video call on Dhani app in just 10 seconds. 200+ Doctors are available 24×7 to assure your well-being.
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Thank you so much for joining us today Dr. Vrushali. I am sure this will be very insightful for parents who are now readying themselves to send their kids back to school.
For all our readers, if you have any health-related queries, do write to us at email@example.com or leave us a DM on any of our social media handles. We will make sure to address your questions in our next session.