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Warning for parents ahead of school return

Parents have been told to warn their children of the dangers of sharing pens and school books ahead of a return to the class room after the summer break.

Health and safety experts from CE Safety say parents should prepare their children for the realities of post lockdown schooling before they return to the classroom.

They have offered advice for British parents to discuss with youngsters, such as washing hands regularly at school and promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach as well as not sharing pens or other items.

Millions of school pupils are set to return to the classroom and be reunited with their classmates and friends for the first time in months when they finally return to the classroom in Autumn.

Yet despite the government easing many of its own distancing rules in schools, teenagers still aren’t supposed to touch when they meet.

A spokesperson for CE Safety said: “Schools are one of the most important places to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, and millions of children have fallen behind in their education as a result of the pandemic.

“As schools brace to open with no vaccine, and still much unknown about this virus, the tension is high, and parents need to do their part and provide children with as much information about their new routine and school day as possible.

“This will help UK pupils to prepare for any changes that have been made to the timings of their day, the layout of their classroom, and playtimes. Following the correct safety plans and adhering to best hygiene practices will help protect students, teachers, staff, and families.‚Äč”

Here, CE Safety offers helpful advice parents should consider taking on board to help schools safely reopen and keep children safe.

Encourage frequent hand washing

During the pandemic, the government made clear from the start that keeping your hands clean was one of the best ways to stop the spread of the virus.

Parents have been asked to make sure their children understand the importance of handwashing before they return to school. It’s important to get children into the habit of washing their hands regularly, particularly after visiting the toilet, and before eating.

Parents can make sure their children know about handwashing technique and wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water right before leaving for school, and as soon as they get home from school.

Talk to them about what they understand

Over summer and as lockdown eases is a good time to check the latest government guidelines and facts on COVID-19 with children as the information is changing daily.

Guidelines, as they stand right now, might change ahead of September so it’s vital to keep on top of the latest information as a team. Parents should be prepared to repeat the information about what is happening lots of times.

Ensure basic hygiene principles are followed

Naturally, the UK is more hygiene conscious than before. If a child coughs, parents should promote the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach. At school, children need to be informed that they shouldn’t share pens or schoolbooks.

Children should also know how to properly wear a cloth face covering and understands the importance of doing so.

Ensuring the family knows the symptoms of COVID-19

Parents can take on the responsibility for knowing the health symptoms of COVID-19 and screen children at home. Parents already know to screen for many childhood ailments: flu, conjunctivitis, etc. so they will be good screeners. If a child show symptoms, they will need a test to check if they have coronavirus as soon as possible.

Make sure there is safe travel to and from school

Parents are encouraged to make children walk or cycle to and from school for exercise and health. A real danger could be what happens before and after school – when people from different households are still supposed to stay apart.

Children should adhere to social distancing at all times, and this includes walking home from school with friends.

Parents need to prepare their children for a different school experience

Parents should talk to their children about the need to follow new rules in schools on physical distancing, mask-wearing, and personal hygiene, and why this is important.

Timetables might shift, break-times changed and class sizes will differ and this will all contribute to a whole new school experience, but at the end of the day, being prepared and understanding is the best way for everyone to stay safe.