A guide to school and dormitory safety
Believe it or not, many kids are excited to go back to school.
For close to two years now, kids had to stay at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Distance learning quickly became the norm for many schools and universities. While this setup may have given kids more time to lounge in bed in the mornings, it quickly got boring for many.
Now that face-to-face classes seem to be on the verge of coming back, children are getting excited to see their classmates and teachers again. In particular, dormitory-bound students have a lot to look forward to as shared housing facilities are set to open as well. This development, however, has left many parents worried about the possible exposure of their children to the virus. Is it really safe to resume classes in school or go back to the dorms?
While the answer to this question might still be debatable, one thing’s for sure: as parents, we can take some extra steps to ensure that our children are protected from COVID-19. Here are some simple yet effective tips to share with our kids to keep them safe as much as possible.
Familiarize yourself with dormitory directives
Upon arrival at a new dormitory or boardinghouse, it would be wise to ask about the house rules especially regarding precautions against COVID-19. Request for an emergency contact list and inquire on the medical services available if your child gets sick or needs care.
Use common facilities during off-peak hours
Bathrooms, dining halls, elevators, and other shared, enclosed facilities are areas where your kids are at high risk of contracting viruses from others. Advise your children to, as much as possible, use these facilities at a time when few people use them. This may mean taking a bath during early morning hours or eating lunch before noon. In this way, they get to avoid high traffic in these areas and reduce their risk of getting infections.
Avoid non-essential group activities
While it may be tempting to re-connect with friends at school, children should hold off getting together with their peers for a while until the spread of the virus is more controlled. Instead, use non-physical means such as online interactions or phone calls to maintain friendships amid the pandemic.
Keep to yourself during mealtime
If allowed, it would be best to dine in bedrooms or areas where you can keep to yourself. This would minimize the chances of pathogens being spread during conversations at meal times. Children should keep and sanitize their own dishes, cups, and other utensils. As always, washing hands and using sanitizers that have at least 60 percent alcohol must be practiced before meals and when coming into contact with frequently touched surfaces.
Check-in with a buddy
While getting together with the barkada may not seem a great idea at the moment, it would be wise if your child has at least one buddy he or she can count on in the dorms. That friend would be the one to advise management if your child has medical emergencies. This buddy would also be the one to ensure your kid is getting his or her necessities in times of quarantine.
Prioritize nutrition and exercise
The best defense against any kind of disease is a healthy body and a sound mind. To make sure your kid’s immune system is at its best, encourage him or her to engage in sports. While close-contact sports such as basketball or football may need a little tweaking to remain safe, your child can engage in a variety of outdoor activities to keep fit. You may also invest in a personal set of weights or other fitness equipment to help your child exercise. Even following Zumba and other dance workouts online can do wonders to ward off sickness and anxieties.
Practice basic safety precautions
While reminders to wash hands, use sanitizers, don face masks and maintain social distancing may already be ingrained in your children’s minds by this time, the importance of these still needs to be emphasized. Your children can help keep their dormitories, boarding houses or condominiums safe by always being ready to clean up after interactions with others. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that staff and residents in shared housing must stay at least 6 feet (or 2 meters) apart in any shared space.
Overall, nothing can perfectly guarantee our children’s safety especially as the virus remains in our midst. If your child is vaccinated and strictly adheres to minimum health protocols, however, he or she remains protected even without your watchful eyes.
As we try to resume regular activities under the new normal, allow your children to rediscover the world even if it means still having to follow strict safety measures. Children getting excited over going to school used to be rare, but after the pandemic, many of them are now thankful for the opportunity.
www.cdc.gov, Monstera, Ketut Subiyanto, Anna Shvets, Edward Jenner via pexels.com
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