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  • Mariah Wilson

How to prepare for the start of school during a pandemic

Photo courtesy of Wix.

Preparing for the start of the school year is chaotic enough, let alone having to face the uncertainties that COVID-19 poses. At the time of publishing, the Alberta Government has announced that K-12 schools will have a blend of in-person and online learning opportunities for students returning within the next week. Depending on the programs a student is enrolled in, parents can either opt-in to send their kids to school or learn from home.

Since there's so much information being thrown at parents about what they should and should not be doing, we thought it would be beneficial to compile some tips and tricks that have been released by local and international health experts.

Tips for in-person learning:

  • Wear a mask.

  • Grade 4 to 12 students and all staff must wear masks where physical distancing cannot be maintained, including on school buses and shared areas such as hallways.

  • Masks are not required while students are seated in the classroom during instruction if following the physical distancing guidance for schools.

  • Masks are required in the classroom when close contact between students, or students and staff, is occurring. Masks should be used for the duration of this activity.

  • Clean your hands frequently.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or apply and use hand sanitizer frequently. For appropriate use of hand sanitizer, follow these steps:

  • Apply one to two squirts of sanitizer to the palm of one hand ― enough to cover all surfaces of the hands.

  • Rub the sanitizer over all the surfaces of hands, fingers and nails until dry. This should take at least 20 seconds.

  • Keep a to-go size hand sanitizer container nearby.

  • Don't share your supplies or personal items with anyone else.

  • Screen for symptoms every morning.

  • Check every morning to see if your child has any of these symptoms. If yes, they must stay home:

  • Fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, sore throat, chills, painful swallowing

  • Runny nose/nasal congestion, feeling unwell/ fatigued, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, unexplained loss of appetite

  • Loss of sense of taste or smell, muscle/joint aches, headache, Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

  • Keep a distance between others and follow marks in hallways and cover coughs and sneezes.

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