back to school

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following for families, once schools reopen for in-classroom learning:

• Check in with your child each morning for signs of illness. If your child has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, they should not go to school.

• Make sure your child does not have a sore throat or other signs of illness, like a cough, diarrhea, severe headache, vomiting or body aches.

• If your child has had close contact with a COVID-19 case, they should not go to school. Follow guidance on what to do when someone has known exposure.

• Identify your school point person(s) to contact if your child gets sick.

• Make sure your child is up to date with all recommended vaccines, including for flu. All school-aged children should get an influenza flu vaccine every season, with rare exceptions. This is especially important this year because we do not yet know if being sick with COVID-19 at the same time as the flu will result in more severe illness.

• Review and practice proper hand washing techniques at home, especially before and after eating, sneezing, coughing, and adjusting a mask or cloth face covering. Make hand washing fun and explain to your child why it’s important.

• Be familiar with how your school will make water available during the day. Consider packing a water bottle.

• Develop daily routines before and after school—for example, things to pack for school in the morning (like hand sanitizer and an additional (backup) mask and things to do when you return home (like washing hands immediately and washing masks).

• Develop a plan as a family to protect household members who are at increased risk for severe illness.

• Make sure your information is current at school, including emergency contacts and individuals authorized to pick up your child(ren) from school. If that list includes anyone who is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, consider identifying an alternate person.

• Be familiar with your school’s plan for how they will communicate with families when a positive case or exposure to someone with COVID-19 is identified and ensure student privacy is upheld.

• Plan for possible school closures or periods of quarantine. If transmission is increasing in your community or if multiple children or staff test positive for COVID-19, the school building might close. Similarly, if a close contact of your child (within or outside of school) tests positive for COVID-19, your child may need to stay home for a two-week quarantine period. You may need to consider the feasibility of teleworking, taking leave from work, or identifying someone who can supervise your child in the event of school building closures or quarantine.

Plan for transportation

• If your child rides a bus, plan for your child to wear a mask on the bus and talk to your child about the importance of following bus rules and any spaced seating rules.

• If carpooling, plan on every child in the carpool and the driver wearing masks for the entire trip.

• If your school uses the cohort model, consider finding families within your child’s group/cohort at school to be part of the carpool.

• If your school uses a cohorting model, consider limiting your child’s in-person out-of-school interactions to children in the same cohort or to activities where physical distancing can be maintained.

Preparation

Talk to your child about precautions to take at school. Children may be advised to:

• Wash and sanitize their hands more often.

• Keep physical distance from other students.

• Wear a mask.

• Avoid sharing objects with other students, including water bottles, devices, writing instruments and books.

• Use hand sanitizer (that contains at least 60% alcohol). Make sure you’re using a safe product.

• Reinforce the concept of physical distancing with your child.