Back to school time can be stressful for families under normal conditions. The 2020 Covid pandemic made back to school a huge challenge for parents. Over the 2021 Summer, life was slowly seeming to get back to normal with more people receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. Currently, rising cases of the Delta variant and a new mask recommendation from the CDC are once again causing uncertainties as families prepare for the reopening of schools in September.
This year, however, experts seem to all agree that in-classroom learning is what’s best for children. The CDC states, “Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.” Schools are now better equipped to prevent the spread of the virus through social distancing and maintaining proper ventilation, both proven to reduce the transmission of disease. This can bring some relief to parents that teachers and school personnel are educated in how to minimize the spread of both COVID-19 and the Delta variant virus. In addition, kids over the age of 12, are now eligible to get vaccinated.
5 Reasons Not to Panic about 2021 Back to School
So what does this all mean for parents? Well to start, “Don’t Panic!” Despite what may be portrayed in the media, one year has made a huge difference. We now have proven guidelines from pediatric infectious disease experts on how to keep our kids and teachers safe during the upcoming school year.
- The CDC reports that most healthy children who test positive for COVID-19 have very mild symptoms.
- The COVID-19 vaccine is now readily available.
- Schools are implementing effective prevention methods.
- Research has found that the spread of COVID-19 in schools is very low.
- Most schools are planning to reopen for the 2021 school year.
Key Points: CDC Covid-19 Guidelines for 2021 School Year
- CDC believes it’s priority for students to safely return to school in Fall 2021 due to benefits from in-person learning.
- The CDC strongly suggests schools use multiple prevention strategies together and consistently to protect people who are not fully vaccinated. This includes children under 12 and staff who have at risk family members at home. Therefore, everyone (ages 2 and older), whether vaccinated or not, should wear masks at all times indoors (students, teachers, staff, & visitors).
- “Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting vaccination can help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports.”
- The CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms and wear masks indoors. This will help reduce the risk of transmission.
- “Screening testing, ventilation, handwashing, respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection are also important layers of prevention to keep schools safe.” says the CDC.
- When a student, teacher, or staff has any signs of an infectious illness they should stay home and follow up with their healthcare provider for specific care instructions and testing.
- “Localities should monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, screening testing, and occurrence of outbreaks.” This will help guide schools on strategies to layer preventions and at what level.
Offer Mindfulness Strategies to Help Anxious Children
Keep in mind that some children will face separation anxiety about returning to school this fall. Particularly, after months and months of in-home learning and togetherness with parents. Fortunately, children are resilient and despite feeling some anxiety, many will adjust comfortably in a short time. For children who suffer from general anxiety, parents may have to provide additional reassurance and encouragement. School counselors, therapists and physicians can typically provide parents with helpful resources. In addition, if your child gets upset about wearing a mask, this is a great book to help explain the situation and for them to understandably relate to the character: Ella and Her Mask!
Check out our online class, Mindfulness: Raising Self-Aware Children. The tools offered in this class can assistant parents and childcare workers in helping children recognize their feelings, learn how to express them, in addition to providing calming and coping skills. You will gain knowledge about mindfulness benefits, responsive parenting, effects of stress, and more. In completion of the course you will walk away with tools to teach children breathing practices, children’s yoga, social and emotional skills, and self-awareness strategies.