Back-to-school certainly looks different in the era of COVID-19, from the items in your kids' backpacks to their transportation needs to identifying emergency contacts.
The CDC has released an in-person learning checklist to help students and parents better navigate how to return to the classroom safely. Here are a few of the recommendations from their list:
- Have multiple masks, so you can wash them daily and have back-ups ready.
- Label your child’s masks clearly in a permanent marker so that they are not confused with those of other children.
- Consider providing your child with a container (e.g., labeled resealable bag) to bring to school to store their masks when not wearing it (e.g., when eating).
- Try to attend school activities and meetings. Staying informed and connected may reduce feelings of anxiety and provide a way to express any concerns you may have about your child’s school.
- Talk with your child about how school will look different (e.g., desks far apart from each other, teachers maintaining physical distance, possibility of staying in the classroom for lunch).
- 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.
- 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.
- Plan for possible school closures or periods of quarantine. 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.
- 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.
The full checklist is available here.
If your school uses a hybrid model, you may want to review both the in-person and virtual/at-home learning checklists.