Back to School in the Time of Coronavirus

It wasn’t long ago when we shared a back to online school checklist to help kids prevent eye strain from home computer use. Those were the times of “distance learning,” when COVID-19 cases were at their peak in Sydney and people were advised to work or study from home.

Now, our government has approved that kids can resume learning in a classroom setting. Scientific data from John Cook University also shows it is safe for kids to return to school, whilst further reading about school safety for Sydney’s school-age kids can be found in the NSW Government website.

As parents, knowing our child is safe at school is very important. Here are some safety tips for your child who is returning to school this year:

1. Remind your child to always wear a face mask.

This is recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the World Health Organization. This advice is based on data that people with COVID-19 can transmit the virus even if they don’t realise they have it.

Wearing a face mask is a good safety precaution especially during times when it is hard to maintain social distance such as hallways after school or lining up at the cafeteria.

Prepare a resealable bag so your child can place the mask there when not being used (e.g., during lunch). A backup mask is also a good idea when the one they are wearing has been compromised (e.g., fell on the ground or touched with unwashed hands).

2. Brief your child on COVID-19 safety best practices.

This includes:

  • A different angle of a mother and daughter, likely of Indian descent, with the mother putting on a facemask on her daughter
    It is important to let your child understand why they need to do these safety practices rather than just imposing it without explanation.

    How to properly wear and take off their face masks, avoiding touching the parts that cover their nose and mouth.

  • Reminding your child to clean their hands before and after touching their mask.
  • Instructing your child never to share or trade masks with others.
  • Discussing with your child why some people may not be able to wear a face mask for medical reasons.
  • Frequent hand washing with antibacterial soap.
  • Bringing a small bottle of hand sanitizer which they can use when a washing area is not available (explain to them how to use hand sanitiser).

It is vital to not just impose these practices to your child but, more importantly, educate them on the reasons behind it. Also be a model for your child by observing these practices especially when they are watching you.

3. Ask your child what their concerns are.

It is important to listen to your child to know what they are feeling about returning to school during the time of a pandemic. Help them feel reassured. At this time, the schools should have done changes to ensure that kids and teachers are safe. After the first day of school, ask feedback from your child on what practices they have observed which they think went against the safe practices. This may need to be addressed to school authorities. If necessary, voice out your concerns to the teacher or principal. Safety should come first before learning.

4. Healthy eyes is one of the most important tools for the classroom!

Did you know?

  • 80% of all information learned is through vision.
  • Kids may not tell you about an eye issue, as they themselves might not know they have it.
  • Children’s eyes change as they grow. Even if their last eye test was normal, there might be new vision changes that need immediate intervention.
  • Wearing undercorrected or overcorrected spectacles may cause discomfort and eye strain, distracting kids from focusing on schoolwork.

A comprehensive eye test done by an optometrist can determine if your child needs any form of vision correction before school resumes.

Your child’s sight is vital for learning and their success. Schedule your child’s eye exam today to ensure that they are vision-ready to achieve their best this year. Even if school has already started, it is never too late to have an eye test.

A Caucasian father and daughter, who is wearing a backpack and carrying books, looking at each other and smiling