School’s back in session! Returning to class, meeting friends… dreading homework. But things won’t be the same in the new normal. Measures have been taken everywhere to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. But questions still linger for parents: “Should I send my child back to school?” and “How safe is it?” Here, we look at certain measures your child can take to remain safe and healthy by social distancing at school.
Social distancing measures taken by schools
To open up and operate as usual, schools need to adhere to social distancing guidelines in order to protect the students and staff. Below are some of the steps that might be taken at your child’s school.
- Smaller class size: This is to maintain the 1-2 metres distance between students. By arranging the desks further apart, and having less students in a class, the risk of infection can be reduced.
- No (or lesser) gatherings: This includes assemblies, club activities and group discussions. Students will be required to stand 1-2 metres apart from one another while doing physical activities or lining up in a queue. Students can also expect not to eat in groups at the canteen.
- Cleanliness comes first: School management will ensure all classrooms, restrooms and other areas of the campus are properly disinfected. Taking a page from primary schools in the UK where students are given specific time slots for going to the bathroom, parents may want to advise their kids to watch the situation and go to the restroom when it’s less crowded.
How far is the distance of 1-2 metres anyway?
Image credit: Tokyo Zoo Net’s official Twitter account
Remind your child to stay a safe distance away from their classmates at all times. Here are some fast and easy ways to roughly estimate the distance of 1-2 metres.
- One broom handle length away. A wooden broom is usually 1 to 1.5 metres in length.
- With open arms. Did you know that your arm span is roughly equal to your height? When two people can remain untouched while spreading both their arms, then they should be 1-2 metres apart from each other.
- Three dogs apart. The Tokyo Zoo Net reminds everyone to stay about three Shiba Inu away from each other. If put nose to tail, that’s about 2 metres apart.
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Social distancing measures for your child
While schools can do their best to keep every student and faculty member safe, nothing is 100% guaranteed. So, as parents, we cannot just rely on the school. Some things need to be taken into our own hands… like soaps and sanitisers. Below are some best practices your child can follow to practice social distancing at school.
#1 Wash hands whenever possible
Washing hands with soap and water for 20-30 seconds is the best method to prevent the coronavirus. But soap may not be available at all times in the school’s restroom. So why not get your child some disposable paper soap? Better yet, a portable soap dispenser pump so they’re always prepared.
#2 Don’t forget to clean the face shield
Your child should opt for a face shield at school as it’s more comfortable and doesn’t obstruct their nose and mouth. However, it needs to be cleaned daily with water and soap, and be dried before each use.
#3 Hands up! Don’t touch your face!
Without knowing what’s on the surface of their hands, touching their face may be the fastest way to an infection. So remind them not to do it! Also, train your child to sneeze and cough downwards into their elbows. This reduces the risk of airborne infection. Plus, it’s just good manners.
#TiqOurWord Do NOT wear gloves! Even though wearing rubber gloves protects your child from directly touching dirty surfaces, CDC has confirmed that gloves can still lead to the spread of germs. Washing hands with water and soap is still the best option.
#4 Bring meals from home
Let’s go back to basic by providing some tasty snacks from home. Preparing food for your child ensures that they get the nutrition they need while consuming clean and healthy food. And remind them not to share food with others. That’s the fastest way for infections to get around.
#5 Carry alcohol-based sanitiser
As trendy as it is necessary these days, be sure that your child have an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with them at all times. You should also consider hand sanitiser spray which can be used to sanitise surfaces such as school desk and stationery items.
#6 Stay within the assigned area
Remind your child to stay within their appointed classroom and not wander around. This makes it easier for teachers to keep track of everyone. It also prevents unnecessary contacts from students from other parts of the school.
After Circuit Breaker, children must be excited to return to school and meet up with friends. So it’s up to us, as parents, to explain to them the importance of social distancing. We can’t make them wear social distancing hats at school, but we can be patient with them. Reiterate some points and use relevant examples on why they should, or should not, do certain things – all for their own safety.
New normal, new rules
The year 2020 brought with it some unprecedented situations for us to experience. Your child may understand the rules of social distancing at school. Other children may not. If you’re still concerned, try talking to other parents about it. And share this article with your family and friends so that everyone can be on the same page. Maybe then, the children can go back to having fun with their friends. But until then, stay safe!
Information is accurate as at 3 June 2020. This policy is underwritten by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd. (Company Reg. No. 201331905K). Protected up to specified limits by SDIC. You should seek advice from a qualified adviser before deciding to purchase the policy. If you choose not to seek advice, you should consider if the policy is suitable for you. It is usually detrimental to replace an existing personal accident plan with a new one. A penalty may be imposed for early termination and the new plan may cost more or have less benefit at the same cost. Benefits of the policy will only be payable upon an accident occurring.
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