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Heading Back to School during COVID-19

Heading back to school

Published on August 12, 2020

When the time comes for students to head back to school, there is more to prepare for than just making sure their school supplies are stocked. This school year, we will work together in ways we have not before, to ensure the health and wellness of students, staff and educators in our communities.

Download our back-to-school checklist here.

Deciding Whether or Not to Send Your Child to School

“Sending your child to school can be a tough decision,” says Forrest Rackham, PsyD, a clinical psychologist with the Phelps Health Medical Group. “Even doctors have varying views about sending their children back to school.”

Deciding to send your child to school can be made easier by considering the following questions:

  • Does your child or someone in your house have a chronic illness that could be made worse by getting the coronavirus disease?
  • Do you feel comfortable with the school’s reopening plans for reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19?
  • Is reliable transportation available to and from school for your child?
  • Does your child know how to properly wear a cloth face covering and understand the importance of doing so?

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Supporting Your Child during COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues into the new school year, parents are struggling with how they will maintain a balance among work, school, child care and self-care. The following are tips to help calm fears, manage stress and keep the peace.

  • Stick to the facts. Use trusted, fact-based sources liked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) when having conversations with your child about the coronavirus disease. Focus on being transparent and emphasize the effect that COVID-19 plays on our communities as a whole, while also sharing that your child has an important role to play in keeping their friends and loved ones safe.
  • Keep routines in place. Setting a structure during the evening or over the weekend allows for consistency that keeps the family calm during times of stress or anxiousness.
  • Empathize and validate your child’s feelings. Our lives have been disrupted, and our children may feel that more so, especially when they are not the people most at risk.  Children may ask why they still cannot go back living their lives as normal. Validating their feelings of unfairness over their own lives can help give them space to be more open and accepting of the conversations you have with them regarding safety rules for your family.
  • Accept and ask for help when you feel stressed, anxious or overwhelmed. Everyone should contribute, and children can be given age-appropriate jobs to help around the house when parents have to work. Most children can set the table, wash dishes or vacuum the floors. Working as a team will help your family stay busy and ensure no one person is overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be completed. “It’s important to not be too hard on yourself,” says Dr. Rackham. “There is no magic formula for getting parenting right. You have to find a balance that works for your family.”

Found in: COVID-19 Health Safety Wellness