Ensure a safe return to school with these 7 easy tips

by Marie-Pierre Berube May 18, 2020

Ensure a safe return to school with these 7 easy tips

With the exception of Montreal students, primary and preschool children across the province have returned to the classroom.

Since schools began reopening, many parents have been asking: “Should I let my child go back to school or daycare?” Indeed, we need to know our children aren’t risking their own safety or the safety of others.

Here are 7 best practices to ensure a safe return to school. 

1) Make sure your child knows how to wash their hands properly

Wash your hands&mdashHoracio Arruda has been repeating these three words ad nauseam.

Parents, too, have been reiterating this crucial piece of advice. But do our little ones really know how to wash their hands? When we learn that 50% of people aren’t washing their hands for more than 10 seconds, it casts some doubt.

Certainly, implementing proper handwashing practices at school is no easy task.
And that’s not coming from us; rather, it’s a sentiment voiced by our founder’s sister Marie-Pierre Bérubé, a kindergarten teacher. For her, going back to school poses many challenges. Fortunately, by establishing clear and concise handwashing steps, we can make things easier for everyone.

Here are the 5 handwashing steps everyone should follow:

  1. Wet your hands thoroughly
  2. Appy soap
  3. Rub your hands vigorously for 20 seconds (get between your fingers, scrub your palms, and don’t forget about your nails)
  4. Rinse your hands and dry them well
  5. When you shut off the tap, avoid touching it directly

To ensure a safe return to school, we must also determine your child’s ideal handwashing frequency:

  • Upon arrival at school
  • Before and after entering a room
  • Before and after recess
  • Before and after handling food
  • After going to the washroom
  • After sneezing or coughing
  • After being in contact with another child or educator
  • Before leaving school

2) Give your child a good hand sanitizer

When they return to school, your child won’t always have access to a sink or soap.

Therefore, having a disinfectant on hand (no pun intended) is very practical, whether in the form of gel, foam, or liquid.

Here are some important criteria for choosing the right product:

  • The disinfectant must be alcohol-based
  • It must be approved by Health Canada
  • It should be a natural and eco-friendly antiseptic

  • Several local products meet these criteria:

  • Hand Sanitizer - Unscented Company
  • PUR Vodka, which recently developed a hand sanitizer
  • And, in the event your child needs to wash their hands but there’s no soap nearby, it would be useful for them to carry hand soap sheets

Also, don’t hesitate to practice handwashing with your child. You can even make a game out of it.

3) Clean your child’s lunchbox and school bag daily

When your child comes home, you must immediately decontaminate their lunchbox, schoolbag, and every other possession including:

  • Drinking bottles
  • Books and notebooks
  • Phones and tablets
  • Keys

To avoid the risk of cross-contamination, you should perform all cleaning with a single washcloth. And as for a cleaning product, consider opting for our Essentials (High Risk Areas - Red).

You should also consider purchasing reusable lunch or snack bags, which wash easily and are good for the environment.

4) Make your child change out of their clothes (and wash them immediately)

In addition to your child’s backpack and lunch box, their clothes also need disinfecting.

To avoid the risk of contaminating your household, you should develop a routine for both adults and children arriving home:

  • Leave a laundry basket and bottle of hand sanitizer at the entrance of your home
  • Remove clothes, shoes, and other potentially contaminated objects in the entrance
  • Place the clothes in the basket and put them in the washer immediately (wear gloves to handle the clothes, and wash everything with very hot water)
  • Ensure hands are washed thoroughly and that inside clothes are put on
  • Wash shoes with a dedicated cloth (wear gloves when doing so)

Here are 2 local, eco-friendly products to help with the routine:

5) Talk about masks with your child

“Why does she wear a mask, mommy?”

Discuss the merits of wearing a mask to diffuse your child’s fears. Of course, choose the right words (i.e., “She wears a mask to avoid being sick.”).

Pssst… If you’re looking for protective masks, these 4 Quebec companies manufacture them:

6) Know when to keep your child at home

Don’t jeopardize the health of your child or others for a few weeks of school.

Your child should isolate for 14 days if:

  • They’re coughing or experiencing a sore throat
  • They have a fever
  • They appear to have difficulty breathing
  • They were in contact with someone with flu-like symptoms

7) Educate your child about these crucial practices:

  • Cough into your elbow
  • Keep your distance from friends and adults
  • Don’t share your lunch or personal items (even if your child is naturally generous)
  • Clean your desk and personal effects

We’ll get there together

Phew&mdashlots to process! But by remaining disciplined and working together, we can ensure a safe return to school. And remember, #itwillbeokay.

Marie-Pierre Berube
Marie-Pierre Berube


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