Going “back to school” after a huge break is always longed for especially this year when the break does not seem to end. But last year Covid changed it all; it has put the students out of the classroom and into the virtual learning space for an entire year. Many states now are gauging the situation and mulling over the reopening of the schools for the upcoming academic session. Parents on one hand want their kids to go back to school so their study routine is normal again, but on the other hand they are anxious about their safety as well amidst this pandemic.
As a mother of two kids, one who has to write her board exam this year and the second one who will be starting her middle school, I have no choice but to send my kids to school to maximize the educational benefits. After all, how long can we keep the kids cocooned inside the home? Moreover, with people trying to adapt themselves to the pandemic and with the Covid vaccination program being rolled out with full gusto, it has given us a hope that things would start to look better henceforth.
Meanwhile, checking and ensuring if the school has taken the proactive measures to operate the educational institute safely is also very important.
And I am sure if you also have decided to send your kid back to school, you have your safety checklist in place.
Though my list is quite long for my kids, with instructions like – don’t go very close to your friends, don’t share lunch boxes and stationery, avoid touching your nose, eyes, and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow– I would still like to share with you all the must-haves’ items in my kid’s backpack to stay safe from COVID
- Hand sanitizer for your kids & UV Sanitizer for Teachers:
No doubt washing hands is the best option to ward off the germs from hands but we also know that kids don’t wash hands enough in the school. My kids admit that they wash hands with soap and water only before eating and after using the washroom. But what about the other time- after playing, after classes, or even after blowing their nose or coughing. Due to the lethargic behaviour, time constraints or many a times because of shortage of supplies in bathroom, kids don’t wash their hands.
In this Covid period such laxity is not acceptable, so it’s a good idea to send your kid to the school with a travel size hand sanitiser, and be instructed to use it frequently. Make sure that the hand sanitiser is alcohol based which ensures that bacteria and viruses are killed. Buy only tried and trusted brands and small kids should be advised to not swallow it. Kids should also be strictly told to not share their hand sanitiser with their friends. To make the sanitiser easily accessible, clip it onto their backpack with a help of key chain.
Meanwhile also check if the Management has taken the right safety measures to ensure if your kid is in safe hands. While the hand sanitizer is the better option for kids; teachers and attenders can equip themselves and adapt to mess-free sanitization with the Potable UV Sterilizer that helps to keep the common touchpoints virus-free up to 99.99% in just 20 seconds. The UV Sterilizer is portable and can be used on any surface including the chalks, chairs, desk, notebooks, duster, door handles etc so that the children can feel safe to use the commonly used surfaces.
- Mask Up:
“Mask Up” has become the national anthem and right so!!
When looking at options for buying the right mask for your school going kid, you should look at the fabric, design and fit of the mask. After all kids need to wear the masks for good 4-6 hours of the day, so masks should also be breathable and as comfortable as possible, besides providing the required protection.
I have recently come across a brand which has masks with activated carbon and copper layer in the middle and fabric as its first and third layer. Activated carbon helps to absorb the pollutants and the copper kills every particle impurity, especially the virus with 99.96% efficiency and the layer of fabric makes it comfortable to wear. According to downloadable test report that is available on the website for public access, the mask has high filtration efficiency against viruses. I have already stocked up on this mask for my daughters, which are easily available on their e-commerce platform and it also comes in various sizes and colors.
In case of masks too kids should be advised to wear them properly , and not to share with anyone.
- Just a bit more precaution:
Besides arming my kids with the above two must-haves, the other things which I will pack in their backpacks are:
- Travel size disinfectant wipes to use on commonly touched surfaces like desk, chairs, computers etc., if required.
- Spare masks, in case the mask she is wearing gets dirty , lost or damaged.
- Pocket size pack of tissues which can be used and thrown.
- Hair bands, hair fasteners- these are must, especially for girls, so that their hair remain in place and does not fall on the face, prompting the kids to touch their face every now and then increasing the risk of transmission.
- To rule out sharing, some extra stationary items like pens, pencils, erasers, glue sticks etc.
- Small napkins which the kids can spread on the table while having lunch and a small towel which they can use to sit on, if they have any outdoor activity.
- An empty clean plastic box to secure the mask, when they can take off while having lunch.
Thoughts to ponder:
Earlier stationary, backpacks and lunch boxes used to be the sought-after items usually when the school reopens, but this has now been replaced by the essentials like masks and sanitisers but this is the “new normal” during this Covid era. We parents have to make our kids understand by speaking optimistically about the new changes they need to adopt and adapt to.