TomorrowMakers

As schools reopen, here’s what a mother can do to ensure that her child stays safe from the dreaded coronavirus.

A mother’s guide to post-pandemic schooling

Going back to school after a break has never been discussed with as much interest as it is now. Thanks to the pandemic, the otherwise regular affair of school reopening has triggered a lot of opinions and preparations. Both school authorities and parents are watching the situation closely. The virus itself is doing little to calm your nerves by mutating into a more infectious strain, as seen recently in the UK. 

Naturally, as a protective parent, you would be anxious to know all about the safety precautions your child’s school will be implementing. Here’s what you should bear in mind.

School cannot be avoided forever

It is beyond question that personal contact and physical learning are instrumental in a child’s education process. Although most schools had resorted to different forms of online schooling during the lockdown, it cannot be a substitute for the real thing. There’s a lot a child can learn in class, and not all of it is from a blackboard. The whole experience of going to school, the morning assembly, the interactions and games with classmates, all contribute to the learning process. 

Besides, experts fear that children may have to face a loss that’s far bigger than missing a year of school. This loss can be best explained as a deprivation of normalcy. Given the extremely low number of COVID-19 infections among children, it is safe to say that, statistically, they are the the safest among all population demographics.

RelatedHere’s how you can protect your kids from COVID-19 as schools reopen 

Measures schools can and should take

One of the first steps that schools must take is to restructure their classrooms and ensure proper physical distancing. Desks need to be at a safe distance from each other, and the gap between adults and children should be maintained. This distance must be rigorously followed for games and extracurricular activities, which should be conducted in the open as far as possible. 

Schools should ensure that no one with symptoms of illness is allowed on campus. Temperature checking devices should be made available at the entry points for this purpose. Face coverings should be made mandatory for all students and staff within the premises. The usage of masks should also be encouraged in all public spaces. 

Schools should also look at limiting crowds. Keeping students in the same classroom for all classes and encouraging them to have lunch at their desks instead of a common hall can minimise the movement of large groups within the campus. Above all, hand-washing facilities should be made readily available and encouraged. 

Educational institutions should also keep their classrooms, public spaces, restrooms, buses etc. clean and regularly sanitised. Each school should be equipped to shift to a virtual classroom environment in the event of future outbreaks.

RelatedHow to successfully homeschool your kids during the pandemic 

Things you can do as a parent

As the parent of a student, you should contact the school and ensure that all coronavirus-related precautions are being taken. You should appraise yourself of the health and safety requirements issued by the school authorities and adhere to them. This would include making sure that your child always wears a face mask and carries a sanitiser and extra masks in the bag. 

Ensure they are well aware of the dos and don’ts and check the health of your child regularly. Once your child is back from school, you can ensure that the school dress and frequently used objects such as school bag, stationery, books etc. are cleaned and disinfected. If you are a working mother, teach your child to do these things independently, without the need for constant supervision. 

Keep an eye on the health of your child and familiarise yourself with the symptoms of COVID-19 and other common ailments. Remember, it is normal for a child to undergo stress and anxiety due to the unusual and uncertain scenario. Therefore, you must communicate with them and encourage them to express their feelings. Trust your maternal instincts when it comes to your child’s safety. 

Last words

It is indeed a relief that the younger segment of the population has fared well in coping with the pandemic. However, the lockdown and its aftermath can pose a serious threat to their mental well-being. Taking this into account, the reopening of schools is a step in the right direction. However, concrete steps towards safety need to be taken before schooling and education can be restored to their original pace. To this end, schools as well as parents will have to put in concerted efforts. A mother’s guide to raising financially responsible children.