As we watch coronavirus lockdown measures slowly being lifted, it can be a time of mixed emotions for parents and carers as children return to school.
Some will be happy for their boys and girls to see their friends again, ease back into a classroom environment and maybe take a break from the stresses of home-schooling. For others, there will be worries over whether schools have taken all of the necessary measures to minimise the spread of infection and if pupils will be able to adjust to social distancing during the school day. To ease these concerns, we have put together a few tips on how to keep your child safe and happy as they head back into school.
How do I keep my child safe at school?
There a number of key areas to consider:
- hand washing
- cleaning surfaces
- regular laundering
- talking to your child
Read on for more detailed information
As all parents know, the transmission of bacteria and viruses in schools is often quicker than at home mainly because of the number of children in close proximity and the difficulty of maintaining group hygiene. With this in mind, regular hand washing is the most effective way of killing infection at the source.
Helping children to become independent hand washers before school starts back is the best way to prepare your child. Remember Government guidelines and make sure children sing ‘happy birthday’ twice before they turn off the taps. After soaping the hands generously and covering the entire skin surface with bubbles, rinsing with water is essential to wash those germs down the drain! Drying hands with paper towel is the best way to finish. Make sure that your child’s school is well equipped with hygiene resources too. It is worth checking with teachers or the bursar that provision has been made for soap and paper towels and that good hygiene practices are in place.
It is a good idea to consider sending your child to school with a little cleaning kit in case products are in short supply. A mini bottle of Greenscents Castile Soap for handwashing and even a mini Multi Surface Spray for wiping down surfaces can be quite fun. Add a small cotton cloth and your child will have a basic hygiene kit – as long as they remember to use it!
Regular hand washing after classes, at break times and especially after using the toilet, will instill positive practices that will remain with them long after COVID restrictions are lifted.
Covid 19 can remain on surfaces for more than 24 hours so it is a good precautionary measure to wipe down any school bags, books and pencil cases when your child gets home from school, much in the same way you would with parcels or food shopping. Use an organic multi-surface spray and remember to rinse your cloth carefully to wash germs down the drain. Dry the surface with a clean tea towel.
Lunchtimes can be challenging at school, as children expect to sit with their friends and eat socially. Asking your child not to share or receive food from others and washing their hands before and after eating are good steps to take. It is best to bring lunch boxes, water bottles and cutlery from home and these should be washed in hot water with an organic washing up liquid or put through the dishwasher every day after school.
Taking care of children’s uniforms is another way we can help to eradicate the virus before infection occurs. As with other surfaces, coronavirus can lie on fabrics for up to 48 hours and so washing uniforms daily is highly recommended. The best method is to machine wash at a high temperature (60-90 degrees) to kill all viruses and bacteria depending on the fabric. Use any fragrance of Greenscents Laundry Liquid or Conditioner but Minty will help to kill off bacteria and viruses. If your child suffers from allergies then stick to our Nonscents range. Ideally, air dry clothes on a washing line or on a rack near an open window. Any bits of uniform that are normally dry cleaned like blazers can be wiped with warm water and Greenscents Multi Surface Spray or steam cleaned.
Can I trust my child to stay safe at school?
As well as trying to reduce the risk of infection it is perhaps just as important to explain to your children just how different school will be from normal. There is a danger that children returning to school may think that lockdown and coronavirus restrictions are over. It is important to discuss the potential dangers of life at school with your child as in many cases, the chances of catching the virus will now be higher than when they were at home.
However, getting the balance right is difficult – most children will be excited to be returning to school and having fun with their friends so extra rules about behaviour might seem boring or frightening. A sensible but low key approach to hygiene that supports the efforts of teachers will probably be best overall.