Hoosier families and teachers are working together on how to get students back to school safely or moving ahead with remote or e-learning. While the start of the new school year presents some challenges, there are several tips and recommendations to help get Hoosier students back on track and set them up for a successful semester.
With 42% of children aged five to 10 years old not practicing proper hand hygiene by using soap when washing their hands at school, as reported by Global Hygiene Council, it's clear we can take some time to further teach kids how to do this so that we can increase our odds of keeping everyone healthy.
Many schools are implementing additional cleaning protocols and emphasizing frequent handwashing for students and teachers. They are taking steps to keep students healthy, and students can do their part by washing their hands frequently and correctly by following the seven steps of wetting hands with clean, running water, turning off the tap, applying soap, lathering hands by rubbing them together with the soap, lathering the backs of their hands, between their fingers, and under their nails. Be sure to scrub hands for at least 20 seconds, rinsing hands well under clean, running water, and drying hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
It's also important to sneeze into the elbow, use hand sanitizer often, avoid touching our faces and sharing personal items with others, including masks.
Mental and emotional well-being
In addition to watching out for spikes in fever, coughing, fatigue, muscle aches, loss of taste and smell, nausea and other signs of COVID-19, parents should also be mindful of any behavioral changes or emotional distress children may display when returning back to school. The CDC recommends parents be honest when talking to children and reassure them everyone has their best interest at heart. Also, school guidance offices provide support and can be useful resources to turn to if a student is showing signs of mental distress or asking for help.
The CDC offers other guidance online at CDC.gov/coronavirus on staying involved in extracurricular activities virtually, having school contact information on hand and what to do at home in the case of an outbreak.
A lot of people in our community are working hard on behalf of our students. This will be a challenging school year, no doubt. As students head back to classroom, let's encourage young Hoosiers to practice good hygiene as we all look out for their physical and mental health.
State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents House District 75,
which includes portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.
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