Back to school time is right around the corner. While this is usually an exciting time of the year for many families, the COVID-19 pandemic is casting a dark cloud over this season. Many parents and school administrators are wondering what they can do to protect children as they launch back into the school building in the midst of the virus still circulating. Here are five ways that you can stay safe back at school even during this growing pandemic.

Buy Plenty of Face Masks

Depending on your school's rules, it may be necessary for your child to wear a mask while at school. Now is the time to start experimenting with different mask styles so that you can find the one that is the most comfortable for your child. Washable masks are the best because you can re-use them.

Your child should also have extra masks in their backpack in case they need to rotate them out throughout the school day. If your student is not yet used to wearing a mask for long periods of time, you should take the days leading up to the start of school to help them to practice tolerating the masks.

Equip Kids with the Right Tools and Equipment

School supply shopping will definitely look different this year. In addition to the standard supplies of paper, pencils, and crayons, your student will need to make sure that they the right tools and equipment to handle the rigors of the pandemic protection protocols.

Most schools are rightfully requiring that students do not share supplies. Purchasing labels for kids will help them in their efforts to personalize their supplies so that other students do not accidentally use them and spread germs.

Teach Kids Good Hygiene Practices

The cornerstone of any type of illness prevention is proper hygiene. With this virus ripping across the country, it is more important than ever to teach your kids good hygiene practices.

Every good hygiene protocol starts with solid handwashing. Teach your child to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap. It may help them to conceptualize the time by having them sing a song to themselves as they wash their hands.

You should also make sure that your child knows to use hand sanitizer when they do not have access to soap and water. While most responsible school districts will ensure that there is plenty of hand sanitizer available to students to use onsite, it does not hurt to attach a mini bottle of sanitizer to your child's backpack for emergency use.

Explain the Importance of Social Distancing

Before your child sets foot in the classroom, they need to fully understand the importance of social distancing. It has been proven that keeping your distance from others can help to reduce the spread of the virus, particularly when you are indoors and in close quarters.

While older children can grasp the concept of six feet of distance with better accuracy, younger kids may have difficulties with this task. You can do your part by helping them to practice staying six feet away from others before school starts. For example, try taking them to a park or other area with people and have them practice keeping their distance so that they understand what appropriate spacing looks like.

Double Check All Immunization Records

Even during a normal school year, it is important to double-check your child's immunization records to ensure that they are up to date with all of their vaccines. This is particularly important during a pandemic when you need to be in optimal health.

The flu vaccine will be available soon for everyone. Ensuring that your students get this vaccine will help to cut down on other illnesses in the classroom. Keeping everyone as healthy as possible during this time will also help to keep the hospitals from becoming overloaded and strained beyond capacity.

There is no way to fully protect children from contracting this virus and passing it on to others. However, focusing on these five steps can help to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 so that the world can begin to beat this virus and end the pandemic.

Author's Bio: 

Regina Thomas is a Southern California native who spends her time as a freelance writer and loves cooking at home when she can find the time. Regina loves reading, music, hanging with her friends and family along with her Golden Retriever, Sadie. She loves adventure and living every day to the fullest.