The present scenario has trapped almost everyone at home impacting all aspects of our lives. Social distancing and sheltering at home are the new ways of life for families and households across nations. The pandemic and long-term physical school closures have taught us that offline schooling is how children and the younger generation learn best. Sports, friendships, socializing, public speaking, social skills are the key areas students develop and learn from physical schooling.

Schools are an essential third pillar of society. Offline education is the best for kids, at the same time it also raises concerns for their safety during this pandemic. After COVID-19 vaccinations were announced for the age group 15-18, a sigh of relief came for everyone; especially parents. This means kids will be at lower risk of getting severely sick with this virus.

Ways to keep students safe in School

Everyone in the school fraternity need to do their part to ensure students and school staff stay healthy. Making sure that all eligible students and adults are properly vaccinated is one part. A school community should make sure they help each other to stay safe and healthy. They should keep wearing masks, follow social distancing norms, wash hands regularly, stay at home if unwell. These steps are even better when it is combined with screening, good ventilation and contact tracing in schools.

As school reopens, the question that arises amongst parents is- What can I do to keep my children safe?

  • Make handwashing fun- Kids as small as toddlers to teens need to know the importance of handwashing in day-to-day life especially during pandemics. Encourage small kids to sing and dance while washing hands properly. Inhibit habit of washing hands before and after eating, before and after using the bathroom and on a regular basis. Make stories like by washing hands how they become superheroes and kill the villainous germs.
  • Face Masks-Face masks are the simplest tool to avoid infection. Children who are yet to be vaccinated and adults who are vaccinated but are still at a condition that puts them at higher risk of getting infected can use a 3 layered mask or N-95 that can put them at a lower risk of infection. Children over 2 years of age should be made to wear mask compulsory at school and public places.
  • Social Distancing-Children should be taught to maintain 5 feet to 6 feet distance in schools. As per studies by an organization for year 2020-2021lower transmission levels were observed in schools where the social distancing was maintained by more than 6 feet. Whenever possible outdoor spaces must be used to conduct activities and seminars by schools.
  • Screening Testing-This testing helps in identifying infected people. It can identify people with or without symptoms also people who might be contagious before they have any symptoms. It can offer added protection in schools that are not able to provide optical physical distancing. For it to be effective screening test must be conducted at least once every week.

Although children can be infected with covid-19, studies suggest that they show little symptoms or at most they are asymptomatic.