Last week many local school districts announced their plans for returning kids to school this fall in the midst of increasing cases of COVID-19. While many school plans provide flexibility for in-person or virtual learning, many questions still remain. If you are unsure about parts of your school's plan, ask your school officials so you have the information you need to make the best decision for your family. Each family will have different factors to consider when making their decision.

While the details of the plan for your child's school are being worked out, one thing is certain - school this year will be very different for your child. Here are some practical ways to prepare your child for the upcoming school year:

  • Begin to move your child back to a "normal" school year sleep schedule. Even kids who will do online school this year should not be staying up late and sleeping in as late as they want. Vacation is almost over - time to get ready for school!
  • As much as you understand it, explain your school's plan to your child so they will know what to expect. Be prepared!
  • Reinforce how the new safety measures are helping people not get sick. Empower your child to protect others (family, friends, teachers, and others) by wearing their mask, washing their hands, following the safety rules at all times. Kids like to help!
  • If your child has not had to wear a mask very often, practice wearing it at home. Help your child find a comfortable mask that fits over their nose and mouth without slipping down. Remind them once it is on, leave the mask alone and to not touch their face or mask. The whole family could practice together so your child feels more comfortable.
  • For students who will be working online this school year, begin to build a schedule for them, and a workspace, so they can have routines and healthy habits. Kids thrive on routines!
  • Even the best laid plans are going to change. Help your child (and yourself!) be flexible and resilient during this challenging time. Show kindness and think of others!

Click here for more information about returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic from the American Academy of Pediatrics. You can also contact your Esse Health Pediatrician if you have specific questions or concerns.

By Dr. Peter Putnam, Pediatrics