Schools have begun to reopen across the world as the COVID-19 Pandemic enters it’s seventh month and parents willingly and unwillingly are sending their children back to school. There have been numerous experiments with school reopening across the world and numerous advisories issued on HOW to reopen schools from various organizations- national and international. We recognize that all policies including school reopening are dictated by numerous concerns- political, social, economic, ideological and health. We on the other hand are not into Public Health as much the Best Health for YOU. At Gear for Safety, we recognize that your mind is the best piece of gear which you have to keep you safe. Use It.
point out to your kids that all Superheroes are masked- Superman, Wonder woman, Batman …..
So here are 10 tips for school reopening from the point of view of the best health advice for you and your family:
Don’t Go: Unless it is absolutely necessary for you child to attend school physically, the best way to keep your child healthy (and you) is to stay at home and sign up for e-education. There is no absolutely safe way to go to school. Period.
Personal Responsibility: Children may not fall severely ill themselves but can definitely get their parents and grandparents killed. We are living in a Culture of Denial and Minimization when illness and death is all around us. As National and International Organizations fine tune their messages for the “Public Good” we are focused on what is Best for You, how do you come out on the other side of this Pandemic alive. Tell your kids to listen to YOU. The school may or may not have the best practices regarding distancing, masks and disinfection. You are responsible for your own health. Take pride in standing out and doing the best thing, the HEALTHY thing. If someone tries to shame you into conformist stupidity- ignore, educate them, fight back or report as the situation demands.
Education: the whole purpose of school is to give your child an education. TALK to them about the coronavirus, give them the right information. We have always said that Coronavirus is a piece of bad code which is made worse when there is other bad code- mis/ dis information in the environment. The first IMMUNIZATION against Coronavirus is the CORRECT information (not the POLITICALLY CORRECT information). Tell them how the virus is transmitted, what it is and show them videos of people who are affected by it. Politics can get you killed. In this non-war on Coronavirus our children are being marched off to the battle front aka schools to the drum beat of denial and minimization. Sorry, there is no polite way to put this. If you have to be dragooned into this army at least know that you have been! Open your eyes and open their eyes.
Masked Superhero: point out to your kids that all Superheroes are masked- Superman, Batman, Spiderman (and their female counterparts). They are going to be masked superheroes as well. To be different from others is not something to be ashamed of, it is something to be proud of. Superheroes have to do things to keep themselves and others safe. By wearing a mask they protect others and themselves. It is important to buy kids masks for kids rather than use adult masks. Adult masks do not fit the child’s smaller face snugly, defeating the purpose of wearing a mask! Teach your kids how to wear a mask properly and how to take it off properly and dispose it. A mask is gear and gear must be treated with respect. Do not reuse masks. A mask a day keeps the doctor (and needles) away.
Hand Sanitization and Washing: It is important that children and adults sanitize their hands hourly. If possible set a discreet alarm attuned to the breaks in between classes which reminds them to use a hand sanitizer. Wash hands at least in the recess and after playing.
Eyes: Coronavirus lives in our throats and lungs but can enter not only through the nose and mouth but also through the eyes. If your child is wearing spectacles tell them to keep them on and sanitize them after coming back from school. If your child isn’t wearing spectacles get them a pair if non- powered spectacles preferably in a cool colour. Tell them to keep the spectacles on in school and not to take them off.
Distancing: our masked superhero doesn’t engage in futile battles. Fight the battles which can be fought. Trying to keep children distanced from each other is an exercise in futility. Tell them instead to keep contact safer by keeping their masks on in public spaces and regularly disinfecting their hands. The best way to distance is to FOCUS ON ONESELF.
Transport: Try and drop your kid to school in your own vehicle if possible. The less contact with others the better. If your kid must be bussed make sure she wears a mask in the bus and sanitizes her hands immediately after getting down from it.
Debriefing: your kids are going into a risky situation every day. It is important to talk to them every day to find out what happened at school. Were they exposed to any risky situations- was anyone in their class ill- students, teachers, other staff; are they themselves feeling ill, were students and staff observing precautions, did they wash their hands regularly.
Assessment: assess the risk parameters when your child comes home and rate yourself every day. You can use the chart which we have made or make your own. Identify where possible exposure could have happened and plan against it.
Did you wear your mask all the time
Did you disinfect your hands after getting down
Did you disinfect your hands after each class?
Did you take off your glasses?
Did you rub your eyes with your hands?
Did you wash your hands when you visited the restroom?
Did you disinfect your hands before recess?
Did you disinfect your hands after recess?
Did you wear your mask in public spaces?
Did you come into contact with any adults other than your teachers?
Did you see anyone who looked ill? (Was having fever, coughing or breathless)