How to Make the Grade this 2021 School Season

General B2C

Back to school season is fast approaching, and this year is looking a little different than most. It may feel overwhelming attempting to prepare your kids for success this school year, and it’s important to know you are not alone! Alongside your usual school supplies haul, rearranging schedules and efforts to regain a somewhat normal sleep schedule, you now have to think about their sanitation habits. And let’s be honest, kids aren’t best known for their cleanliness.

The sad reality is that kids have lost out on critical childhood experiences due to this pandemic. No playdates, no birthdays, no sports, and no mess, all of which are pretty important aspects of being a kid. There is already speculation as to what long-term effects it will have on them. And despite Canadian provinces collectively loosening restrictions, it doesn’t look like we are out of the woods just yet.

The delta variant is already dominating Covid-19 cases in North America and is predicted to impact Canada’s back-to-school plans come fall 2021. The delta variant is thought to be substantially more contagious and faster spreading than the original strain of Covid-19 (CBC, 2021). News of this variant has left many Canadian parents conflicted on whether or not to send their kids back to school and others feeling helpless because they don’t have a choice.

Depending on what Province you’re in, there are conflicting reports on whether or not Covid cases are higher in schools than in other public settings. What is certain is that schools have several negative factors that have contributed to cases thus far. The following factors are some of the most prominent issues that continue to be brought up among governments and health officials:

2020 saw the mainstreaming of online education. People had looked at online as somewhat inferior to classroom education across categories. 2020 busted that myth forever.

Ashwin Damera
  1. No herd immunity. The first factor is that children under 12 years old are still not eligible for vaccinations. This means that it’s unlikely schools will be able to reach herd immunity in the near future. Studies also show that youth under 18 have lower vaccination rates than people between the ages of 18 – 49 (Betco, 2021). Regardless of your stance on vaccines, a majority of Covid cases in North America are unvaccinated individuals. 70% of these cases being the delta variant (CBC, 2021).
  2. Overcrowding in classes. Schools can’t implement proper social distancing protocols. Despite most schools offering online learning to some (if not all) students, in-person classes are still occupying up-to 30 kids. This makes it virtually impossible to enforce the recommended 2 meters of space between students and teachers. There is also the added difficulty of proper mask use among young children. When neither of these
  3. Regular covid tests. The last factor that is contributing to these cases is a lack of screening protocols in place. According to the CDC (2021), most active Covid cases in schools could be prevented with regular Covid-19 tests among teachers and students. This would limit the spread of the virus drastically.
A little boy with blond hair and blue eyes, sitting at a school desk, wearing a disposable surgical mask.

How to protect your kids at school

While getting ready for back to school this fall, there are many things you can do to make sure your kids (and you) are feeling prepared! Sending your young ones back to school doesn’t have to feel daunting, and with the following tools, you will leave with an added sense of security and a game plan for the first day of school!

At this point in the pandemic, our children understand what is going on. But for those just starting in-person learning or are going back for the first time in over a year, they will need a reminder before going on their own.

  1. Practice personal space. Due to the crowded nature of schools, enduring a 2-meter distance between children at all times is unlikely to happen. So, yound children may need a reminder about being mindful of their personal bubble.
  2. Practice cleanliness at home. At home, kids have a constant reminder (you) to wash and sanitize their hands on a regular basis. Unfortunately, you can’t gaurantee that teachers will be able to moniter all 30 of their kids hand washing throughout the day.
  3. Hand sanitizer. Find an effective, hydrating and portable bottle of hand sanitizer that they can easily fit in their backpacks. They may forget, or not be able to wash their hands before eating and this will ensure they have access to a quick and easy method of disinfecting.
  4. Properly wearing a mask. The proper wear of facemasks are essential in potentially crowded areas, like schools. Due to the number of young, unvaccinated children in one building, they are at higher risk of contracting Covid-19.
  5. Take their temperature regularly. If possible, try to regularly take your childrens temperature on a semi-regular basis. Ideally before taking them to school. Symptoms may not initially be apparent, so monitoring will prevent spread of the virus to other young children.

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