June 1 marked the beginning of the phasing in of schools as per the announcement by the education minister Angie Motshekga. More schools were reopened on 8 June as well. As more and more grades are preparing to start schools again, parents are looking at ways to ensure the safety of their children during this global pandemic.
Here are some useful tips for ensuring that your child is prepared for back-to-school.
Prepare them for school being different
Because it’s business unusual in a pandemic – make sure that your child is emotionally prepared to school being different. Explain why they won’t be able to hug their friend in the morning, share a desk with them or touch/borrow any of their items.
Get them into a routine
Start treating the day as if it’s a normal school day, get them up early, ready and dressed as if they are already leaving the house. Align their eating habits with school breaks.
Train them to wear a mask
While it is unclear how long the school day will last – train them to get used to wearing a mask and keeping the mask on.
Create handwashing/sanitising rituals
At home, you’re able to monitor how often your kids are washing their hands but this will not be the case when they go back to school. Creating a fun ritual, like having a handwash/sanitise alarm (that’s the tune of your favourite song) as a way to remind them to do it even when they are away from you at school.
Get clarity from your child’s school and teacher
Even though your child is going back to school- this will be a far from usual back to school due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also, the department of education may have outlined what the plans are for getting the kids back to school and what the guidelines for safety should be- but as a parent also enquire with your school and understand how they will be operating on the ground. Will they provide masks for your child? If not, what grade of masks does your child need to wear to school etc? How long will school days be? How will adherence to social distancing be ensured?
Speak to your child’s transport provider
If you will not be transporting your child to school daily ensure that you get clarity from your service provider how they will be implementing social distancing and hygiene measures to lessen the risk of spread in their trips.