Keeping Kids Healthy
Children of all ages can be impacted by COVID-19, but there are ways to slow the spread of disease. Individuals 12 and older are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Check in with your child each morning for signs of illness:
- If your child has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, they should not go to school.
- If your child has had close (within six feet) and prolonged (at least 15 minutes) contact to a COVID-19 case, they should not go to school. Follow CDC and school guidance on what to do when someone has known exposure.
- Make sure your child does not have signs or symptoms of illness including: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
- If your child has symptoms which may be due to COVID-19, you should contact your healthcare provider to see if they should be tested and for additional medical guidance.
Plan ahead and be prepared:
- Make sure your child is up-to-date with all recommended vaccines, including for flu. All school-aged children should get an flu vaccine every season, with rare exceptions. This is especially important this year because we do not yet know if being sick with COVID-19 at the same time as the flu will result in more severe illness. Talk to a physician about scheduling a flu shot for your child this fall.
- Review and practice proper hand washing techniques at home, especially before and after eating, sneezing, coughing, adjusting a face covering and after using the bathroom. Make hand washing fun and explain to your child why it’s important.
- Be familiar with how your school will make water available during the day. Consider packing a water bottle.
- Develop daily routines before and after school—for example, things to pack for school in the morning (like hand sanitizer and an additional back up cloth face covering) and things to do when you return home (like washing hands immediately and washing cloth face coverings daily).
- Develop a plan as a family to protect household members who are at increased risk for severe illness.
- Make sure your information is current at school, including emergency contacts and individuals authorized to pick up your child(ren) from school. If that list includes anyone who is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, consider identifying an alternate person.
- Be familiar with your school’s plan for how they will communicate with families when a positive case or exposure to someone with COVID-19 is identified.
- Develop a plan if your child needs to stay home from school (e.g.: arrange for alternate childcare options or time off from work or virtual options).
- Make sure your child has enough food/supplies/medications in case they need to isolate/quarantine at home.
Talk to your child about precautions to take at school. Children should:
- Wash and sanitize their hands more often.
- Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Keep physical distance from other students.
- Wear a face mask.
- Avoid sharing objects with other students. This should include water bottles, electronic devices, writing instruments and books.
- Tell your children that sharing is a nice thing to do, but right now it's safer not to share their things with their friends.
Plan for transportation:
- If your child rides a bus, plan for your child to wear a face mask on the bus and talk to your child about the importance of following bus rules, especially if this includes spaced seating rules.
- If carpooling, plan on every child in the carpool and the driver wearing face masks for the entire trip. Consider finding families in your child’s class at school to be part of the carpool.
- If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan or receives other learning support (e.g., tutoring), ask your school how these services will continue.
- If your child receives speech, occupational or physical therapy or other related services from the school, ask your school how these services will continue.
- If your child receives mental health or behavioral services (e.g., social skills training, counseling), ask your school how these services will continue.
- If your school uses a cohorting model, consider limiting your child’s in-person out-of-school interactions to children in the same cohort or to activities where physical distancing can be maintained.
- Reinforce the concept of physical distancing with your child.
- Talk to your school administrators and teachers about their plans for physical education and physical activity (e.g., recess). Safer options include being outdoors when possible, reducing the number of people in an indoor space, and encouraging students to stay at least 6 ft apart.
- Ask how your school plans to help ensure that students are following practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
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