BACK-TO-SCHOOL – ADVICE FOR PARENTS DURING COVID-19

There seems to strike one suspicion, racking the minds of teachers and administrators, and that’s driving a sharp divide of opinion among parents: Can children cope, adjust with the transition back to school where many problems related to Covid-19 were not conclusive?

The feelings of uncertainty seem triggering a rallying debate in every house. It’s when hearing the conflicting information about the intensity of viral transmission and the likely spread of the virus among children. Obviously, it’s understandable, the anxiety experienced by both parents and children – which stands tolerably high.

There could be a possibility, most parents’ would reason: that the children when returned to school, might contact and spread the Covid-19 infection; they might altogether ignore the warnings of social distancing. We cannot overlook these possibilities. In most instances, the parents and children seem hardly satisfied with the reassurances offered by school administration and medical officials.

For a while, let’s keep aside what we assume from the schools and school administration.

Let’s discuss the role of the parents, how responsibly they can train the children and guide them to school with awareness: of personal hygiene, sanitisation, and social distancing.

First, parents have to check and get the answers about how active the virus is in the local community, and where the school is located, and how prompt the school is in applying the protocols and safety guidelines of cleaning, social distancing, testing, and responding to illness. How are they following the health recommendations for maintaining the health of students and staff?

How teachers and staff are trained to prevent transmission of the virus and to recognize signs of illness.

It’s natural for children to experience high levels of anxiety before the schools reopen because of which the stress may go up. It’s the parents who have to play an influential role in helping the children to cope, make them feel right about back to school initiative, and see that the transition proceeds with less worry and anxiety.

The parents need to have honest, open conversations with their children. You can help them to understand how they have to protect themselves in staying safe, washing their hands, touching their face, carrying and using the hand sanitizer, keeping a safe distance with others.

Parents should never resort to avoidable assurances and misleading promises. Don’t give your word to the children, like, “your fears many be baseless,” “everything will be okay,” “we are there for you.” Such statements give children false hope, prompt them to be less cautious, and may not develop enough courage and skill to cope with any problem if it strikes unawares. They could be likelihood, they may assume the Covid -19 infections are a no-risk, or it may never affect them.

It’s the parents’ responsibility to make easy the process of the transition back to school. We can talk in a way the children feel optimistic about the fears of the infection. They should promptly respond to their worries and doubts, making them clear about coping strategies, safety protocols, and calming them if they report any worry. The entire strategy is that the parents help children to the school to tread watchfully during the fears of the pandemic.

The children have to be cautioned and helpfully debate about the safe distance to be maintained regarding other adults in the school. It’s to do about the bus drivers, ayahs, dining hall staff, cleaning staff, and about many more assisted workers who move in the school compound that may have family members who might come from vulnerable groups.

At these challenging times, it must be the responsibility of parents and other members of society to educating and care for the children. Besides the safety of the students, safeguarding the teachers and parents also has to be a top priority.

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