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July 29, 2021

Preparing Students for a Safe Return to School During COVID-19

Fight for Life, Indianapolis, INSource: NYU Langone Health | Repost Fight for Life Foundation 7/29/2021 –

As some schools reopen for in-person learning, parents are facing a whole new back-to-school to-do list. This includes teaching children how to reduce the risk of contracting 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), adapt to new routines, handle awkward and potentially risky social interactions, and cope with worries and anxiety.

So along with paper and pencils, parents are packing backpacks with hand sanitizer and face masks. But teaching children to be responsible for their own safety is the most important way parents can prepare their children for returning to the classroom, says Adam J. Ratner, MD, director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and pediatrician at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

Children need help understanding how to navigate situations at school that may pose risks to their health and safety, he says. “Talk through scenarios, such as, ‘What should you do if you get to the playground, and kids are running around without masks?’ In an age-appropriate way, explain ways they can ask their friends to wear a mask, or advise them to seek out a teacher,” says Dr. Ratner.

“Parents need to arm their children with information,” says Dr. Ratner. “These are tough discussions, but it’s important to reinforce these strategies in the least scary way possible.”

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