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Staying Safe: Back to school tips for parents and children

Stay COVID Smart

This year, the students in York Region are returning to school for a year of learning unlike any other. It may be difficult for kids to imagine exactly how an in-class school day will look, so it’s important to talk to your kids about the changes that they will experience in the classroom and about what they can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Public health guidance for kids remains mostly the same as it does for adults and much of what has been promoted over the last six months will be applied in the classroom. Students will be asked to:

  • Practice physical distancing; which in a classroom environment may mean, no sitting close together with friends, no singing or no physical touching (hugging, etc.)
  • Practice good hand hygiene; including washing hands with soap or sanitizer upon arrival at school or whenever they enter / leave a room as well as before and after eating or nutritional breaks
  • Wear masks; this is encouraged for children in grades Kindergarten to Grade 3, and mandatory for those in Grades 4-12
  • Stay home when they’re sick

Stay COVID-smart

Equip and empower your children with what they need to feel safe and confident practicing COVID-smart measures. Some ideas can include:

  • Talk to your children about physical distancing and brainstorm new, safer ways to greet friends and show affection
  • Consider providing your children with their own hand sanitizer
  • Remind your children they should not be borrowing or sharing their personal items, especially masks
  • Make mask wearing easier by showing your children how to properly put on/take of their mask, provide bags to pack clean masks separate from soiled masks and consider writing different times (after recess, after lunch, etc.) to remind children to change soiled masks throughout the day
  • Talk to your children often about how they are feeling physically and emotionally and make sure they have what they need to navigate their new normal

stay COVID smart

Coping with back-to-school changes

Some of these new changes may not be easy for your child to process. Many experts have said the mental health benefits of being back in school outweigh the risks of COVID-19; however, it is still important to pay attention to your child and any signs of difficulties with their back-to-school routine. This is true for all children, whether they are returning to full-time, part-time, or to at-home studies. Some behavioural issues to watch for can include*:

  • Strange sleeping patterns or severe changes in eating patterns
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Extreme emotions, like worry, sadness, or anger; manifesting as disinterest in fun or fun activities, tantrums or even violence to self or others

Support your children through this transition by talking to them often about their feelings and helping them stay connected to the people the love in new and safe ways. Spend time together and continue to encourage them to do things that make them happy, fulfilled, relaxed and positive.

And finally, help your child stay healthy this year by promoting all around good health. Find a healthy fall recipe to try together or new ways to exercise now that the seasons are changing. Flu season is coming and having your child protected against the flu is especially important this year as the symptoms often present like COVID-19. It’s important to make sure your child’s other immunizations are all up-to-date. And remember, if you’re child isn’t feeling well, keeping them home to rest and recover is more important this year than ever before.

Visit york.ca/covid19 for information on symptoms and everything else about staying safe at school in the Region.

*This list does not replace a formal diagnosis by a trained professional. The behaviour issues listed here are for guidance purposes only.



COVID-19,school,children,kids,education,return,educators,parents It’s important to talk to your kids about the changes that they will experience in the classroom and about what they can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Regional Municipality of York en-US News

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