Riverside Schools…Back to School or Virtual Classes, Protecting Our Kids and Students against COVID-19
August is back to school month for Riverside Students. However, due to COVID-19, there is still uncertainty when students will actually return to normal school classrooms.
A note from Riverside Unified School District states, "As we prepare to welcome you back to the 2020-21 school year, we are diligently working on every aspect of the RUSD school experience from health and safety to the program choices for students and staff. This is a very challenging time as community health circumstances are changing daily".
For now, it looks like classes will continue virtually at home. But, what can parents do to plan and prepare for closed schools? Why the concern of sending them back to classroom environment? How can we keep our homes safe and sanitized for our kids?
Parents can help protect their family from COVID-19 by practicing and promoting everyday healthy habits. The CDC provides guidance. Use this checklist to plan and take action.
PLAN AND PREPARE
Practice and reinforce good prevention habits with your family
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Keep your child at home if sick with any illness
If your child is sick, keep them at home and contact your healthcare provider. Talk with teachers about classroom assignments and activities they can do from home to keep up with their schoolwork.
Be prepared if your child’s school or child care facility is temporarily dismissed
Talk with your employer about sick leave and telework options in case you need to stay home with your child. Consider planning for alternate child care arrangements.
IF YOUR SCHOOL/CHILD CARE PROGRAM IS DISMISSED
Keep track of school dismissal updates
Read or watch local media sources that report school dismissals or stay in touch with your school.
- Talk to your school about options for digital and distance learning
- Discourage children and teens from gathering in other public places while school is dismissed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community
- Seek guidance from your school administrator to determine when students and staff should return to schools
Duration of school dismissals will be made on a case-by-case basis based on the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the specific situation in your community. Students and staff should be prepared for durations that could last several days. Administrators should work with their local health authorities to determine duration of dismissals.
THE CONCERN OF SENDING KIDS BACK TO SCHOOL
The more people a student or staff member interacts with, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in school settings as follows:
- Lowest Risk: Students and teachers engage in virtual-only classes, activities, and events.
- More Risk: Small, in-person classes, activities, and events. Groups of students stay together and with the same teacher throughout/across school days and groups do not mix. Students remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects (e.g., hybrid virtual and in-person class structures, or staggered/rotated scheduling to accommodate smaller class sizes).
- Highest Risk: Full sized, in-person classes, activities, and events. Students are not spaced apart, share classroom materials or supplies, and mix between classes and activities.
COVID-19 is mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. It is thought that the virus may spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose or mouth, causing infection. Therefore, personal prevention practices (such as handwashing, staying home when sick) and environmental cleaning and disinfection are important principles that are covered in this document. Fortunately, there are a number of actions school administrators can take to help lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread during school sessions and activities.
KEEPING A CLEAN AND SANITIZED ENVIRONMENT AT HOME
This guidance is intended for anyone, whether you own a business, run a school, or want to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your home. Reopening America requires all of us to move forward together by practicing social distancing and other daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure.
- Disinfection using EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19 can also help reduce the risk. Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is important.
- When EPA-approved disinfectants are not available, alternative disinfectants can be used (for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions). Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together--this can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children.
Some surfaces only need to be cleaned with soap and water. For example, surfaces and objects that are not frequently touched should be cleaned and do not require additional disinfection. Additionally, disinfectants should typically not be applied on items used by children, especially any items that children might put in their mouths. Many disinfectants are toxic when swallowed. In a household setting, cleaning toys and other items used by children with soap and water is usually sufficient. Find more information on cleaning and disinfection toys and other surfaces in the childcare program setting at CDC’s Guidance for Childcare Programs that Remain Open.
SERVPRO of West Riverside City is also a resource for cleaning and sanitizing your home, childcare facility or schools. We use EPA Hospital grade products that are safe for children. We can tailor the cleaning and disinfecting to your needs. Ask for our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned service.
We are here to help. Call us for a free estimate: 951-351-8033