Back-to-School Safety Tips in an Era of COVID-19 and Homeschooling

 

With some schools re-opening, others going hybrid, and many remaining virtual, today’s parents face a series of tough decisions. Unfortunately, this represents only the beginning of what could be one of the most challenging school years yet. Follow these tips to keep your kids as safe as possible:

Digital Safety

A surprising variety of hazards accompany all-digital learning. Implement these practices to avoid top safety risks:

  • Update security software on any devices your kids will use for school.
  • Consider updating your firewall and anti-virus software to provide better network security.
  • Use strong passwords for your children’s accounts — and change them regularly.
  • Have your kids take short breaks from devices between classes to prevent eye strain.
  • Require children to use devices in a public portion of the home, where adult supervision can be maintained.

Safety for In-Person Schooling

While many local districts have opted for an all-virtual start to the year, select schools plan to re-open. In most cases, this approach is accompanied by masks, social distancing, and strict sanitization policies. Still, extra effort will be required to help kids prevent a variety of hazards.

  • Stock up on masks and plan to either provide new disposables or regularly wash reusable options.
  • Label masks so kids don’t mix them up. Let them know it’s unacceptable to trade masks with other children.
  • Review hand-washing protocol and remind your kids that frequent washing is even more effective than hand sanitizer.
  • Keep up to date on vaccines, including the flu shot. This will not protect against COVID but is helpful for preventing other illnesses.
  • Disinfect commonly touched items such as lunch boxes, water bottles, or textbooks as soon as your children return home from school.

Whether your children stay home or head back to school, monitor them closely for signs of COVID-19. Keep them home if they develop symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, fatigue, or other worrisome symptoms.