COVID-19 gets detention with handy school safety tips

As many parents and caregivers prepare for the 2021 school year, those with little ones are encouraged to remind their children of the basic COVID-19 precautionary measures they can follow, when attending school.

Basic preventive measures have proven effective in minimising the spread of COVID-19

Remind your child to properly wear a mask (cover both nose and mouth), to wash their hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds during recess/bathroom breaks, using a hand sanitiser if one is available, and keeping a physical distance of at least 1.5m from other learners.

TIPS: Let your child practice at home how to wear a mask. When washing hands, ask your child to recite the ABC’s or sing a 20-second-long song; only once the song is finished can your child stop washing hands. And encourage your child to close the water tap while they are washing hands. To practice physical distancing, let your child stretch out their arms to demonstrate how far they should be from a friend/learner.

Children have to be reminded of common COVID-19 symptoms

Educating children helps to create awareness, enabling them to better identify symptoms. Classic symptoms include a fever, runny nose, sore throat, difficulty breathing, tiredness, dry cough, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

Now that your child has been reminded of basic measures and common COVID-19 symptoms, do they know what to do if they feel sick at school?

If your child gets sick or displays any COVID-19 symptoms during school hours, they have to tell an adult that they trust straightaway. This adult can be a teacher, school nurse or a staff member. The adult will follow the necessary guidelines as prescribed by the Department of Basic Education. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the child’s parent/guardian will be notified and requested to collect the child from school in order to seek medical attention.

Children are imaginative beings, who can be inspired to be heroes at school through positive behaviour

Parents/ Guardians may benefit from the creativity of a child , and in doing so, inspire them to be heroes. Any child can be a hero by demonstrating positive health behaviour that will minimise the risk of COVID-19 to themselves and other learners.

TIPS: Ask your child what their superhero name is, what their outfit looks like, and what their superpower is. Remind your child that heroes wash their hands with soap and water before and after they’ve eaten; a hero uses their elbow to open doors (practice this at home); and a hero keeps those around them safe by not sharing any personal items, including masks and eating utensils. Heroes also avoid touching their eyes, mouths and noses with unclean hands.

Lastly, encourage your child to help others be heroes at school. If they see friends not following precautionary measures, notices that someone is sick, or that the soap/sanitiser is finished, they should tell an adult.

School is a place of learning and is meant to be enjoyed by all learners. Small behavioural changes in the classroom and on the playground can contribute towards creating a safe school environment that guards against the transmission of COVID-19.

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