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COVID-19 Back-to-School Tips

Mom helping put mask on child.

August 10, 2020

As children and teachers prepare to go back to school, many parents are concerned about the upcoming school year. Greg Nawalanic, Psy.D, clinical director of psychology services at The University of Kansas Health System Strawberry Hill Campus, shares his tips for navigating the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and helping children return to learning.

  1. Trust the school system and know they are putting children first. It is vital we try to understand everyone's point of view, as there are many emotions around both virtual and in-person learning. A lot of preparation is happening for both online and in-person learning.
  2. Be a role model for your children and practice the pillars of infection prevention. Wear a mask when you are out of the home, wash your hands frequently, maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance between yourself and people you do not live with. It will help them to see how these behaviors before the coming school year begins.
  3. Be cautious about the way you talk about the pandemic. Share positive, age-appropriate information with your children, like the video below about wearing a mask.
  4. As a parent or teacher, you can also be a role model by taking care of yourself. Eat right, exercise and get enough sleep. Be sure to stay up to date with your own healthcare, including wellness exams and timely screenings. You may also want to talk with your provider about your mental health and any concerns you have. A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics shows nearly 30% of us are experiencing symptoms of clinical depression, compared to 6% at the same time last year. The survey also shows that 36% of us are feeling more anxious about life now, compared to 8% last year.

If you or your child needs additional guidance for coping with issues surrounding the pandemic, speak to your physician or pediatrician.

Sunnye: Hi friends, I'm Sunnye and I'm 7 years old. Do you know you can stop spreading germs by wearing a mask?

Sunnye: Sunnye says, make sure you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before you put on your mask.

Sunnye: Take the loops and put it around your ears. Keep it over your nose and under your chin. Don't touch your face. Remember to use hand sanitizer. And grab by the loops to take it off.

Sunnye: Sunnye says, place your mask in a clean bag when you're not wearing it. Make it fun, I made this one.

Sunnye: Tell your friends it's cool to wear a mask.

Sunnye: Sunnye says, get ready for school by wearing a mask out with mom or dad, in the car, outside and around the house. Good school habits start early, so get your rest and start wearing your mask.

Sunnye: Sunnye says.

Student wearing mask.

COVID-19 and school FAQs

Our experts share their answers to frequently asked questions about going back to school during COVID-19.

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