Keeping Your School Kids Safe in 2020

September 21, 2020 / By Richard Shrouds, MD, Chief Medical Officer Molina Healthcare of South Carolina

Keeping Your School Kids Safe in 2020

Distance learning versus in-person school

There has been a great deal of debate about how to safeguard our kids as they go back to school during the pandemic. Which strategy is the best one?  Different regions have different solutions.

Some school districts have moved to all-online classes. Certainly, avoiding physical interaction decreases the spread of COVID-19. And many Americans rate the end of the pandemic as our country’s most important goal. But distance learning carries risks, too:  kids miss out on social development, emotional interaction, nutrition, exercise and speech development. And social isolation increases anxiety and depression.

Happily, there are steps you can take to better protect your children, no matter what your family is facing for this school year. And since protocols vary from one community to the next, we’ve collected basic tips for a range of different environments, below.


In-person learning suggestions

Ensuring safety requires quite a few steps, beginning with but not limited to these:

  • Make sure your child has no signs of illness such as fever, body aches or diarrhea. If they are sick, they should not attend school
  • If they have been near anyone who has COVID-19, keep them at home
  • Make sure children are up to date with their vaccines, including flu shots. And stay on track with well-child visits for kids and preventive care for you
  • Review handwashing techniques with your child
  • Remind them of social distancing guidelines and explain why they matter
  • Stress the importance of mask-wearing and pack extra masks

Whenever they aren’t at home with family, children (and everyone else) should wear masks

Masks have been proven to greatly reduce the spread of infection, which is why medical professionals have worn them for years. Help kids get comfortable with mask-wearing by:

  • Modeling it yourself, especially when physical distancing is difficult
  • Praising your child when they wear a mask
  • Explaining that masks protect people
  • Putting masks on stuffed animals and drawing them on comic book characters
  • Allowing kids to choose their own masks
  • Having multiples so you have back-ups on hand

Every mask should:

  • Fit comfortably but snugly
  • Cover the mouth and nose completely
  • Be secured with ear loops or ties
  • Have several layers of fabric
  • Be washed daily

At-home learning tips

Remember that the pandemic is a stressful situation for you as well as your child. Be patient with kids, and with yourself. And try to:

  • Make a schedule with your child and commit to it. Structure helps kids stay on track
  • Set up a learning station free of noise and distractions, possibly in your living or dining room or anywhere you can fit a small table
  • Look for chances to connect kids with each other socially, online or in person—as long as they can maintain distance
  • If the school doesn’t offer virtual or socially distanced physical activity, find ways your child can exercise each day
  • Take advantage of school supports to help kids through this disruption in their lives, such as counseling, psychological services and peer/social support groups
  • If your child participates in school meal programs, ask how the district is making meals available to kids learning at home
  • Show your child how self-care works modeling it: Maintain a good sleep schedule, exercise, take breaks, eat healthy and staying connected with friends and family

The more you can stay in the present and focus on what is going well right now, the easier it will be for your children to adopt this skill and keep moving forward, too.

For more information, visit the source of this data at

Category: Children / Safety