Going back to school during Covid -19 pandemic.

Now that our children are supposed to be at school by January 5th, all of them, some questions shall arise.

Here are some of the questions we probably are asking. The answers should give us a better understanding of how things might turn out.

Are children any more or less likely than adults to spread corona virus?

Most children who become infected with the COVID-19 virus have no symptoms, or they have milder symptoms such as low-grade fever, fatigue, and cough.

According to scientists in Havard Medical School, some children have had severe complications, but this has been less common. Children with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe illness.

Low proportions of antibodies found in children’s blood can be an indication that they are less susceptible to severe infection than adults, and therefore play a less significant role in the spread of the virus.

Should children wear masks?

WHO and UNICEF do advise that children aged 5 years and under should not be required to wear masks.

Children aged 6 – 11 years can wear masks only if

  • The child can safely and appropriately wear a mask
  • In an high-risk area of Covid-19

Children above 12 years should wear masks under the same conditons as adults.

What kind of masks should children wear?

Children who are in general good health can wear a non-medical or fabric mask which should be the correct size and sufficiently covers the nose, mouth and chin of the child.

Children with underlying health conditions such as cystic fibrosis, cancer or immunosuppression, should, in consultation with their medical providers, wear a medical mask.

Should children wear masks while playing?

While playing sports or engaging in any physical activities, children should not wear a mask as this may interfere with their breathing.

1 metre distance should therefore be encouraged.

How likely are children to catch Covid while in school?

School outbreaks have not been a prominent feature in the COVID-19 pandemic, mostly due to the fact that the majority of children do not develop symptoms when infected with the virus, or develop a very mild form of the disease.

No evidence has been found to suggest that children are the primary drivers of SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission. However, research has shown that children can become infected, and spread the virus to adults while they are symptomatic.

Should children interact with each other?

As far as some parents feel that children are safer at home, if the specific measures such as increased physical distancing, improved ventilation, regular hand-washing and the use of masks are followed at school, going back to school will be beneficial for the children after a long gap at home.

It will help in the growth and development of the child especially those whose only opportunities to learn are found in school.

Children aged 2-10 years have great social lives at school that help them to learn from their peers and have a positive impact on personality traits and their sense of identity. Lack of these can cause depression, guilt, social withdrawal and hopelessness and also anger in children.

What precautions should schools be taking to prevent COVID-19 virus from spreading?

As you, the parent take your child back to school, ensure these measures are taken for the sake of the safety of your child.

  • Strategic water and hygienic facilities
  • Well ventilated rooms
  • Health screenings and monitoring
  • All adults wearing masks
  • Social distancing markers
  • Decongested classes

Finally,

Preparations for going back to school

So now, that the children are going back to school, how do we need to prepare them?

First, talk to your child calmly. Be the child’s first offer of comfort and reassurance that every thing will be okay giving them respective age-appropriate knowledge on the virus.

Keep reminding them on the importance of keeping social distance while talking to their friends not sharing personal items such as masks and frequent washing of their hands.

Ensure your child has enough clean masks everyday, possibly two everyday, the extra for back up just in case the first one gets lost or dirty.

Your child should be able to put on and take off the masks with ease so practise with them.

Label the masks clearly.

Pray with them and for them for yours is very little you can do. Leave the rest to God.

Image Credit : UCL

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