As of early January, several large Minnesota school districts are bringing elementary students back to the classroom, which is a shift from the districts that have been full or partly distance-learning. As schools work out the details of restarting in-person learning, there’s plenty for the parents of young learners to navigate too.
Dr. Gig Chawla, chief of general pediatrics at Children’s Minnesota, provides tips for parents and students to prepare to head back to school on WCCO.
Tips for parents and students for going back to school
Stay up to date on immunizations and well-child checks.
As families prepare for the return of in-person learning for elementary students, Children’s Minnesota encourages them to get their children up-to-date on critical immunizations and well-child check-ups.
While at the pediatrician, our providers have a number of resources to support families during this challenging time. Our pediatricians can help tailor plans for families to navigate this change plus, our behavioral health professionals can help if you see signs of or are worried about mental health concerns.
Learning in-person for elementary school students is best, why?
The school setting is more than just academics for our littlest learners. In addition to reading, writing and math, students learn and have access to other things that cannot be provided with distance learning. Here are just a few:
- Social and emotional skills.
- Staying active and getting exercise.
- Access to mental health support and other services.
- A safe place while parents are working.
- Access to the internet.
- Healthy meals.
Also, teachers are the first eyes and ears for noting when kids have learning concerns that need to be addressed and schools are the place to address those.
Making sure your child is ready to go back to school.
While at home and during the holidays, kids may have had less exposure to the safety measures they’ll experience in school. Remind them of the rules when they are around others:
- Always wear a mask.
- Keep your distance.
- Wash your hands.
- Avoid large gatherings.
Protecting your children when they go back to the classroom
It’s important for students are up to date on their immunizations. If families have been delaying immunizations or well-child check-ups, now is the time call their pediatrician’s office and schedule those visits.
Children’s Minnesota has taken extra safety measures to make sure our families are protected when they visit our clinics and hospitals.
Get the flu shot.
It’s also critical that students, parents and teachers get their flu shot to reduce to spread of the flu.
We need vaccination rates for illnesses like measles, pertussis, and influenza and other preventable disease to be maintained at a high level to prevent outbreaks.
Stay home when sick.
Don’t send sick kids to school.
If you see something, say something.
If parents see their child in a scenario they are not comfortable with, call it out and use their voice.