Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society offers health and safety tips for back to school

Massachusetts Medical Society offers health and safety tips for back to school

As the majority of Massachusetts students return to school this week, Dr. Carole Allen, pediatrician and president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, has offered some health and safety tips for parents and guardians to minimize the risk of infection among children.

With cases of COVID-19 on the rise due to the transmissible nature of the Delata variant, it’s especially important that all health and safety protocols are adhered to in a strict manner.

  • Wear a mask at all times when indoors at school and on the bus – Masking by all is a public health measure proven to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
  • Get your eligible child vaccinated – Ensure that your child is vaccinated, if they are age 12 or older. The vaccines are proven to be safe and effective and have gone through rigorous scientific process and trials across all age groups. If you have questions about the vaccine, please schedule time to discuss with your child’s physician or health care provider.
  • Know vaccine protection timeline when planning – Remember that, even if your child has received the first or second dose of the vaccine, they are not considered fully protected until two weeks have passed after the second shot is administered.
  • Keep kids home when sick – When your child is ill with even minimal symptoms, please keep them home from their activities and contact their physician or health care provider. Consider having them tested for COVID or other respiratory infections.
  • Ask for safety protocols – Ask your child’s teachers, school nurse or administrators for a copy of the list of protocols and precautions in place and how they plan to ensure that children are supervised and reminded to deploy the safety measures; this is especially important in communal settings like cafeterias. Ensure that your child’s school is adhering to guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Remember that not all illness is COVID – As children come together in the fall it is not unusual to see a resurgence of common infections such as strep or colds. While masking will reduce the risk of all infections, don’t panic when your child develops a cough, sore throat, or runny nose.
  • Urge your child to advocate for themselves – Encourage your child to report illness to her or his teacher if they begin to feel unwell while participating in their activity.
  • Follow health guidelines – Remind your children to be attentive to and compliant with directives given in school regarding social distancing, mask use and handwashing.
  • Always be prepared – While parents and guardians should expect the locations of their child’s activities to have ample supply of hand sanitizer, consider packing extra for your child.
  • Sharing is off-limits for now – Remind your children that sharing food and drinks is not safe.
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