We are gearing up for in-person back to school. Experts sit down to chat the best practices to keep you and your children safe during the pandemic school season.
DARA KASS: You need to remind your children before they enter school that school is not going to be the same as before. It's going to have to be a lot of rules and following directions. And some of the fun, careless activities that kids had in school is just going to have to wait for now.
So every backpack, aside from your books and probably your lunch, should include a couple of things, including hand sanitizer. And I argue that kids probably need two bottles of hand sanitizer and probably one to two masks. The most important thing with children and mask wearing is practice, the idea that they know they need to put it on, keep it on, and take it off after they've washed their hands in a safe environment.
KAVITA PATEL: This part that's covering the nose and mouth is important to keep free from any contact other than with your face. And you want to teach children to try to put it on one loop at a time and not fidget with it. They need to stop touching their hands to their mouth or their hands to their nose.
UCHE BLACKSTOCK: I think the school bus is an area where you definitely have to discuss safety with the kids, because it's an enclosed area. Children should really try to stay as far apart from each other. Make sure to still keep their mask on, keep their hands to themselves.
PURVI PARIKH: I would also recommend, once you reach school, frequent hand washing. Any time they're leaving classrooms, it's a good idea to either quickly sanitize your hand or wash your hands. Also, making sure those masks stay on any time that they're around big groups of friends, whether that be in classrooms or elsewhere, again, covering the nose and mouth.
KAVITA PATEL: I think the best way for everyone to get through returning to school is to have very honest conversations with your teachers. My bet is that those teachers have questions for the parents also, because the teachers are also trying to do their part to keep everyone safe.
DARA KASS: I just don't think it's realistic to expect that we're going to wash down backpacks every single day, but probably once a week is a pretty good idea.
PURVI PARIKH: We advise keeping shoes outside of the house if possible. Remove your clothing. Change into other clothing. If you're able to, I would even recommend taking a shower when you get home.
UCHE BLACKSTOCK: What I probably will do is just make sure if they don't bring the backpack all the way into the house, that we'll have a certain area by the door where we keep their bag or any other materials that could be contaminated at school.
KAVITA PATEL: In general, most of us are going to be using kind of those cloth masks. And you should absolutely be washing them daily, warm water and soap. And so I would recommend having seven days at least if you can.
I think the key here is not treating the symptoms as if it's different. Children often want to please their parents. And if they feel like there's a negative perception around the symptoms, they're more likely to not tell people about the symptoms.
UCHE BLACKSTOCK: Make sure to tell the kids sort of what to expect-- runny nose, cough, fever. If they have any of those symptoms, they're feeling really warm, they should let their teacher know as soon as possible, as well as their parents.
PURVI PARIKH: That way, it can be addressed and it can limit the spread.