Getting kids safely back to class

Posted at 3:06 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 18:13:17-04

Back-to-school is finally here, and while things look a bit different than in years past, school is an important part of your child’s learning and development. That means many parents have had to make tough decisions on how to handle their child's education this year.

“There are ways to lower the chances of getting COVID-19; however, it’s up to you as the parent or caretaker to understand the risks and to decide if the benefits of in-person schooling are greater than the risks,” said Dr. Neal Davis, Medical Director of Pediatric Community-Based Care, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.

If you're still torn on what to do, Dr. Davis says to ask yourself the following questions to help determine what is right for your family:

  • What’s happening in your community?
  • Is your community experiencing a high number of cases or a surge in cases? Answering yes to this question represents a higher risk.
  • Are people in your community wearing masks in public? Do you and your family members wear masks in public places? Is your family following social distancing guidelines when around others? If you answer yes to these questions, the risk is lower.
  • What is your school doing to mitigate risk?Actions like mask requirements, physical distancing (desks spaced 6-feet apart, smaller classes, or staggered recess and lunch times), and keeping students grouped together all day help lower risk. Large schools and class sizes can heighten risk.
  • What is happening at home?

Another thing to keep in mind is that if your child can comfortably wear a mask, and is in good health, the risk is lessened. The same goes for if you can take time off work to care for your child if he or she gets sick.

The risk can be heightened if you have many school-aged children in the home, family members at home who are high-risk for health complications, and reliance on others for childcare can raise the risk level.

If your child is returning to in-person learning at school, here are some ways you can help him or her get ready:

Wear a mask in school and around others.

  • Tips to help your child wear a mask include: practicing at home for longer periods every day until school starts; making mask-wearing fun (decorate it!); modeling mask-wearing behavior; and answering questions in an age-appropriate way.
  • Keep 6 feet away from others if possible.
  • Wash hands often.
  • Stay home when sick. Children should stay home if they have a fever of 100.4⁰ F or higher, or have any symptoms of COVID-19.

If someone in close contact with your child becomes sick with COVID-19, your child will have to quarantine for 14 days. If your child has a confirmed case of COVID-19, he or she must self-isolate at home at least 10 days since symptoms appeared and at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medicines. Everyone living with the child also will have to quarantine.

For information related to mask wearing and returning to school, visit click here.