The world we grew up in will never be the same after COVID-19, and our children live in a very different school atmosphere. They can say we tried out homeschooling, and if you’re like most of us parents, it was a total disaster. My kids were so excited to go to summer camps that are now closed, and can’t wait to see their friends other than on a computer screen. I heard my little boy say is it August yet so I can give my friends a big hug. Let’s fast forward a few months and talk about the CDC recommendations for children returning to school. Go visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/php/CDC-Activities-Initiatives-for-COVID-19-Response.pdf Will the schools be ready and have adequate installations and personal protection equipment by then?
CDC Guidelines for Reopening Schools
- Wear masks over the age of 2
- No sharing of any items or supplies, all belongings in individual cubbies or labeled containers
- No sharing electronic devices, toys, games, learning aids
- Desks 6 feet apart and all facing the same way
- Distance on school buses- one child per seat, skip rows
- Install sneeze guards and partitions wherever you cannot space 6ft apart
- One way routes in hallways; tape on sidewalks and walls to assure kids stay 6ft apart
- No communal shared spaces - cafeterias, playgrounds
- Physical barriers or screens between sinks in bathrooms
- Only pre-packages boxes or bags of food Instead of cafeteria food; kids eat in classrooms
- No field trips, assemblies, or external organizations in the schools. Limit volunteers and visitors
- Same children stay with same staff all day, no switching groups or teachers.
- Stagger arrival and departure times to limit exposure to crowds of kids
- If possible, daily health and temperature checks.
- And several rules about cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day and hand washing frequently.
Parents Rule Book to Back to School after COVID-19
Let me start by saying I am a parent first and a doctor second, by that I mean I want to look out for the best interest of the children and their safety at all costs. I do believe that students should always be washing their hands frequently. At my children’s school they stagger them to wash their hands prior to snack, lunch, or nap time even before the coronavirus hit. Did you know the best antiseptic (killing of bacteria and germs) in the world is WATER? From the bible to hospitals, irrigation with water is the best way to clean a wound and your hands (children please use soap).
Children should not only wash their hands but wear a mask to prevent others from getting sneezed or coughed on. I tried to teach my children the vampire cough and if I had a penny for the number of times they got their spit on me I’d be rich! Children in their younger years are accustom to learning thru touch and everything goes into their mouth. So when we teach them how to cough or sneeze we tell them to cover their mouth, most tell them with their hands. The problem is they don’t usually wash their hands right after and then everything else they touch gets contaminated. I found some pediatric masks that are made in the USA from a medical manufacturer that are amazing. If you can’t find one for your little one, just click here and order a family pack.
No sharing of any kind like electronic devices decreases the risk of spreading infection, but how many Apple schools are there that give each child a laptop (very few). For families who are low socioeconomic status will only separate the learning capacity of their children from the upper class and that is not acceptable. I was a poor Peruvian-American little girl who didn’t speak English until 1st grade and without the education I received from my incredible public schools, I would never be where I am today. Here’s another problem, my children are Montessori children and the entire principle is sharing equipment for learning, plus they don’t have desks in Montessori schools. Many daycares are setup in the same form and fashion, so UV light technology for cleaning items after each child’s use may need to be an option.
Desks 6 feet apart and all facing the same way assumes we all learn the same. As a former high school teacher, one of the mechanisms of engagement was to move around the desks and face each other for group projects, how will this affect learning for those who are kinestic learners? The saying goes “see one, do one, teach one.” You can only truly understand a concept if you can teach someone else, I worry we are boxing in our children’s minds. The social distance rule was put in place for a reason to not directly spread the COVID-19 virus from one child to another. A sneeze travels over 100 miles per hour and spreads 100,000 germs into the air. A cough can travel half the speed of a sneeze (50 mph) and creates over 3000 droplets with one hacking cough. Watch this cute video that explains the 5 rules to keeping safe.
- Wash your hands for a minimum of 30 seconds
- Vampire cough into your elbow
- Don’t touch your face
- Stand 6 feet apart
- Stay home
Distance on school buses- one child per seat, skip rows is a logistics nightmare. We need more buses and bus drivers. Before the coronavirus, there was a huge hiring spree of bus drivers in the county and they couldn’t keep up with the demand. Fingers crossed Tesla will come to the rescue with an automated self-driving bus. The buses must be sanitized after every ride, prior to new students getting on. And I think installation of hand sanitizers as you get into the bus like there is at the grocery store, is a great idea! There is a military formulated COVID-19 and other bacteria and virus killer that works instantly. Click here to learn more.
Physical barriers installed on desks, sinks, and other spaces are needed just like at registers of stores. Daily health and temperature checks should be mandated, the problem is not everyone with a virus will show signs of a fever until it has fully progressed, meaning that they could have exposed others days before. Installation of infrared cameras tracking temperature or a temperature box (think of a metal detector) with a mist of antiseptic as each student walks into school. That brings me to one way routes in hallways which I personally think is a great idea, and cheap and easy solution to avoid traffic in the hallways. Now if they are saying the same children stay with same staff all day then their really won’t be much congestion in the hallways. The real challenge will then be for teachers middle and high school. I taught chemistry, physics, and astronomy and let me tell you, you don’t want me to be teaching your kids English. How will the teachers get a planning break? Innovation in the STEM and curriculum needs to happen and fast to avoid student and teacher burn out.
Only pre-packages boxes or bags of food instead of cafeteria food and kids eat in classrooms. I’d like to think of this like the boxed lunch idea from home chef or hello fresh. This would be great for helping small business owned restaurants to help their local community but also feed the children nutritious meals and stay in business. Eating in their classrooms will definitely allow for a decrease risk of contracting viruses and spreading germs. Lunch was my favorite subject in school because I’m such a social butterfly, and will be devastating to extroverted children in the process.
No field trips, assemblies, or external organizations in the schools. Limit volunteers and visitors are done to protect our children’s safety on campus along with additional screening is mandatory. Field trips, assemblies, and external organizations using school campus are what makes school fun. Maybe staggering arrival and departure times to limit exposure to crowds of kids with these other highly populated assemblies is the way to go. Before care and after care are another consideration because in the average household both parents work. I definitely don’t have the definitive answers to any of these questions, but I hope I have brought to light some innovative thinking to both the medical concerns of returning students and their pediatric psychological interpretation to the school boards. Like everything in life it’s about risk versus benefit in an abnormal situation that just became the norm. The mother of necessity of invention, and the father of innovation is desperation, let’s make the world better for our children one day at a time.