Preparing Children for Public PPE Protocols
To avoid traumatizing children when training them in proper public conduct, it is best to start at home. Do not treat your children as you expect them to be in public. They need hugs and other safe contact to grow and thrive, and not seek this attention from unknown people. It is better to have “drills” or designate times to practice proper public behavior.
I recommend starting with one hour after breakfast, and then gradually working up to the number of hours they will be in school. From there, prepare them for the possibility that if they have an exposure incident, they may have to continue to use public PPE protocols at home. You should make sure that this is not treated as a punishment, just a safety measure. Do not go overboard. Find safer ways of showing affection with the same attitude that carers tend to premature and immuno compromised babies.
Before we get deeper into that, I will list the safety supplies you will need to send to school with your kids. If you can, you should also donate these to schools.
Masks and Barrier PPE
If they can mask, you will need to send at least five in separate bags. These should be brought home every day for cleaning. Breath has condensation, and they will be talking and laughing hopefully during the day. So they will need to change masks. Make sure you have instructed and practiced with them the proper methods of putting them on and taking them off. They call this “donning and doffing” in the health care community.
The steps are:
- Wash/sanitize your hands.
- Remove the mask and place it in the dirty mask bag.
- Wash/sanitize your hands again.
- Get out the clean mask, and put it on.
On the first day, if they have their own storage area at school, send two extra masks for storage. These should be brought home once a month for washing and replacement. These are backups in case something happens to the others or they forget them.
If they can’t mask, make sure to have their paperwork for exemption ready before school registration. Discuss alternative PPE with their teacher or administration. Make sure that they know how to use and maintain your child’s PPE safely, and are aware of any special requirements.
If your child is capable of using gloves and comfortable eye protection or face shields, I recommend them. Make sure they are carrying enough spares.
If the school allows, they should take a bottle of their own hand sanitizer with them. The school may have a list of approved brands and types.
Headphones and Digital Learning Accessories
Some classes may be done online or on the computer, so it’s best if kids have their own headphones. The school’s cleaning staff will be overwhelmed with higher demands, and again, some people’s beliefs may guide their behavior or attentiveness. If you can get away with it, you should also send a keyboard with them. There are some that can be rolled up for easy storage.
Personalized or Customizable Supplies
You should definitely make sure your kids can tell which things are theirs. Consider how you can personalize everything, from pencils and pens to book covers. Try to make sure they have enough spares to not need to share too many things. Teach them how to share things in a hygienic way.
No Contact Items
Supply your children with tongs, door openers, and touch screen styluses so they don’t need to touch things that others have to touch a lot.
Strength In Numbers
Though we have spent lots of time telling people how to avoid each other, we need to remember that teaching kids to form community is important too. Children who care about their own and others’ safety need to stick together and look out for each other.
Click below to continue with Some Realities for parents sending kids back to school.