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Germs and Schools: How the Pandemic Changed Everything

Pregnancy & Toddlers • by Paul De Beyer • 05 October 2021
 
The year is 2019. The month: December. Nearly every school kid across South Africa is counting down the days until they get to enjoy their long summer holidays.
It’s almost a right of passage, sitting and daydreaming those last few school days away, all the while knowing that there’ll be weeks of no school.

Fast-forward six months, and schools are closed. Kids are at home and cannot attend school even if they want to. The world has flipped on its head and everything has changed with the coming of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The question is: how can we protect our school-going children now that we live in a pandemic world?

Get immunised

While COVID-19 vaccinations are not open to under 18s yet, there are still a bunch of other viruses that go around schools. Getting your kids a simple flu vaccine can go a long way to preventing them from picking up other germs while at school. Parents can further protect their children by getting vaccinated themselves.

Did you know: a child’s immune system is less mature than an adult’s, which makes them more likely to pick up a bug than their parents.

Good, clean habits

It’s nothing new to parents that kids are just plain dirty. From playing in the mud to refusing to brush their teeth, there’s almost never a fully-clean child at any point in the day. The biggest thing you can do to help your kids against germs is to teach them good, clean habits:

Get to know the school a bit more

While your children’s school has most likely over-communicated their various procedures to you on a regular basis, it doesn’t hurt to ask your kids if things are happening the way it should. Easy questions to ask are:

Sharing is, sadly, no longer caring

As kids we’re all taught to share with others. Sadly, COVID-19 is teaching us the opposite. To reduce exposure to others, ensure that your children know not to share pens, pencils and other school materials with others.

This can be awkward but if your kids are anything like the ones I know, then the pencils and pens spend more time being chewed on than written with!

Don’t give up on in-person school

COVID-19 is a scary thing and has turned the world into an even scarier place. However, the benefits of in-person schooling cannot be ignored. Academically, it might not feel as different, but human contact and the social skills kids learn from a young age at school is as important as their education.

Teach your kids to be safe, work hard, and, above all, be kind to themselves and others. If you ever find yourself or your child feeling overwhelmed or unsure of the way forward, know you can always call GetSavvi Health’s 24-hour Health Advisor or Trauma Counselling hotlines.

All GetSavvi Health members have access to these benefits which offer trained medical professionals on hand to answer any questions or offer help if you need it. If you’re not a GetSavvi Health member, find out more by clicking here or calling 0861 18 92 02.

References:
Safe Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic
10 Tips for Back to School Safety During COVID-19 Coronavirus
The Impact of Covid-19 on Education - Insights from Education at a Glance 2020
5 Back-to-School Safety Tips During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Safety tips for returning to school during COVID-19
Germs in the School Room

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