Articles Special Article Back to School: Keeping your Children Safe and Ready for F2F Classes

Back to School: Keeping your Children Safe and Ready for F2F Classes

Buckle up parents, there are many changes you can expect as onsite classes resume in the new normal.

The Department of Education (DepEd) announced that all schools offering basic education must start conducting full face-to-face classes in areas under Alert Level 2 by November 2022. Meanwhile, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) encourages but does not require tertiary schools to conduct face-to-face classes. With this, public and private schools in the Philippines can expect nationwide participation in the gradual resumption of in-person learning in August-September 2022.

This may sound like a bold move amid the rise of new COVID-19 variants. But DepEd and CHED ensured that guidelines are in place for the safe reopening of schools.

Young students in a classroom wearing masks
Photo by Muneer ahmed ok / Unsplash

Systems and policies have been developed from the limited pilot face-to-face classes in 2021 and in the first half of 2022. Now, it is no longer a question of whether the schools are ready. It is now a question of whether you are ready to send your children to school. For an easier transition to the new normal, we have prepared a master list that can be helpful to your children’s safe return to school!

Bring Your Own "Baunan" (BYOB)

Minimize your children’s contact with communal resources by having them bring their own lunch boxes. Airtight and antibacterial lunch boxes are preferable. If you cannot prepare lunch, the lunch box with personal cutlery will be enough to still avoid contact with others. The school admins should have policies in place to guarantee that cafeteria food is prepared according to health protocols.

A muffin in a yellow lunch box
Photo by CA Creative / Unsplash

Many schools practice BYOB even before the pandemic to reduce the use of disposables in the school cafeteria. Today, BYOB will be highly encouraged and more so required to eliminate any means through which the virus may be transmitted.

Keep Your Water Bottle Near

It is likely that water fountains in schools will be removed to discourage students from using communal resources. Thus, a water bottle that is big enough to hold a school day’s worth of water is essential.

A man refilling his water bottle
Photo by Bluewater Sweden / Unsplash

Hydration plays an important role in boosting a person’s immune system. It helps the body deliver nutrients to the body while flushing away toxins. The regular intake of water also regulates body temperature and function.

Pro-tip: If your child does not like to drink water regularly, get a water bottle that motivates drinking! A self-cleaning water bottle can also be a good investment.

Bring Hand Sanitizers and Antibacterial Wipes

If soap and water are not accessible, CDC recommends the use of hand sanitizers that are at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizers can be used before and after eating. Additionally, antibacterial wipes can be used before and after touching any shared resource.

Putting liquid sanitizer on a person's hand
Photo by Devyn Holman / Unsplash

The classroom is a shared space where students inevitably interact with each other. Give your children the basic tool for protection by training them to sanitize regularly. The classroom should have its own supply of alcohol and sanitizers. But it is good practice to carry one’s primary tool for defense anywhere.

Ensure a Supply of Protective Masks

Experts advise that well-fitted and comfortable N95 non-medical masks offer the best protection in public spaces. When buying N95 masks, make sure that the product passed the quality test and is not counterfeit. Cloth masks can also provide added protection when used as a secondary layer.

Three pieces of green surgical masks
Photo by Mika Baumeister / Unsplash

A good supply of protective masks in school helps prevent instances of lost and misplaced masks. You can also use mask chains or lanyards so that your children can keep their masks with them.

Bring Extra Supplies to Avoid Borrowing

Your children should have more than one piece of essential supplies like a pencil, eraser, whiteout, sharpener, etc. This will remove the need to borrow supplies from their classmates. If you are worried that your children may be carrying too many things in the backpack already, focus only on the school supplies they use every day.

An organizer of school supplies
Photo by Tim Gouw / Unsplash

Have Personal Devices

Having a personal device ensures that whatever your child brings home after school will not be used by anyone else in the family. For example, older children may need a laptop to do homework in school. When they come home, it may not be the best move to have other family members use something that was brought outside.

Young teen using a laptop to do homework at home
Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Regular sanitation helps prevent virus transmission but if possible, consider having personal devices as another safety measure. Moreover, giving your children their own laptops is also a good investment as they would need these tools eventually.

Keep “Home Offices” in Place

Do not remove your children’s “home offices” just yet. Being ready for face-to-face classes also means being ready when it fails to actualize.

Online learning setup at home
Photo by Grovemade / Unsplash

The smooth resumption of onsite classes highly depends on how well a community can contain the spread of the new COVID-19 variants. It is likely that schools will only allow students to come to school on designated days of the week. This means online classes are not yet out of the equation.

At Home, Do These Things

After school, do temperature checks when your children get home. This can help you monitor their health better and act before anything gets serious. Next, sanitize their things and designate an isolated storage space for clothes and shoes used outside. Then, tell them to wash their hands first before touching anything at home. Finally, prepare nutritious food to further boost their immune system.  

What the New Normal Looks Like

The reopening of schools indicates that our country is getting better at handling the pandemic. In fact, there has been good progress in our pursuit of herd immunity. But no one can deny the presence of numerous threats we still must rally against. This is the new normal. Doing whatever we can to keep our family safe is the first step to understanding it.