Why in-person learning is esstential for children during COVID-19
We are now almost a year into the coronavirus pandemic. In one way or another, we have all been affected. However, our students have bared the brunt of changes. Typically, the younger you are the less likely you are to suffer from a severe reaction to COVID-19, however, the virus itself is not the only issue we need to be protected from. School closures, stay-at-home orders and shutdowns of businesses have contributed to the increasing rates of depression and suicide among younger individuals.
Doctors have predicted that following the pandemic we will enter a global mental health crisis due to the mass suffering, death and dislocation. The younger you are the more vulnerable your wellbeing is. From April to November 2020 there was a 35% rise in children who needed assistance for mental health issues, according to John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Before the pandemic suicide rates were at a record high, seeing increases each year since 2007. Recent data from the CDC states, that suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals ages 10-24.
With this information it’s clear, the younger generation is suffering.
Although finding the right balance between mental health and safety is difficult right now. Technology does not replace human connection. Our quality of life cannot go on pause. Children and young adults need to be in a classroom, in-person. Their mental health and social skills are at severe risk of deteriorating.
We understand that not everyone can safely return from remote learning. Some children are struggling with underlying conditions or have family members who fall into the high-risk category. However, for the children that are healthy, it’s important to prioritize their emotional wellbeing.
Schools across the country are doing everything in their power to keep their students safe. Precautions have been put into place and student health is their first concern. With that in mind, we have put together a list of ways to help support your child making the tradition back to in-person learning.
- Currently, all individuals over the age of 2-years-old should wear masks or some kind of cloth face-covering when out and about, according to the CDC. School is no exception to this rule. Most schools nowadays require masks to be worn at all times. However, you are most likely responsible for supplying them. Be sure your students have access to a clean mask that meets safety regulations. Masks act as a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from reaching you. Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth helps reduce the number of droplets that you are exposed to.
- It is important to monitor your child’s health closely. Children may be less likely than adults to suffer from any COVID symptoms or severe illness. However, before attending school each day check how your child’s feeling and their temperature. This is especially effective if they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days. If your child shows any signs of illness, keep them home or take them to get tested to help protect their health and the wellbeing of others. Visit the CDC Website for a list of coronavirus symptoms.
- Teach your child proper handwashing techniques. This may seem like a no-brainer to some of us, but it’s crucial that you stress the importance of washing your hands. Everyone should begin by lathering their hands with warm water and antibacterial soap. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds or the duration of “Happy Birthday” or the “ABCs.” Then rinse with water and towel dry.
- In an effort to help limit student interaction in the classroom schools have developed new methods of going for day-to-day activities. This may include having teachers migrate from classroom to classroom instead of students or allowing students to eat their lunches at their desks rather than in an overly congested lunch room. No matter what the changes might be, inquire about them. Learn your child’s classroom routine. Start by opening up the conversation with your child’s teacher or school administrator. However, remember to be patient, they are doing the best they can.
- Send your child with cleaning supplies. Although schools are stocked full of supplies it can be good to send your child with some backups. All the necessary safety equipment such as disinfectant wipes, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer or soap fit comfortably in your child’s backpack. Be sure to regularly check to make sure they are not short on any materials.
We all want what is best for our children. It may seem frightening to send them back to school however, the risks of keeping them home are a lot scarier.