Back to school in 2021

Published 4:59 pm Wednesday, August 4, 2021

For many, guidelines and recommendations have almost become redundant over the past few months as we continue further into what seems like a never-ending pandemic.

Even so, as seasons change, and children head back to school this fall, it is important to remember we are not finished with this race yet. Reminding ourselves, and our children, of the importance of the ever-changing COVID-19 regulations and guidelines can help to ensure a healthy year as they get ready to re-enter the classroom.

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Many schools around the area are following the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s guidelines when returning to campus this month. While masks may or may not be required depending on your district, making the decision to remind your child to wash their hands often, use hand sanitizer, and keep a distance between their classmates and themselves whenever possible are key guidelines that will help to stop the spread of many illnesses like COVID-19. Tips like sneezing into their elbow and covering their mouth when they cough, can also help slow the spread of all germs and viruses as we head back into cold and flu season.

If your child gets sick, keep them at home. It may be difficult to adjust work schedules and keep up with their academics, but quarantining your child when they are not feeling well helps to stop the spread of all contagious diseases, and is safer for not only them as they work to rebuild their immune system, but also their classmates, teachers and the school staff members who work hard to educate and protect the children in our communities.

It’s recommended that students 12 and older get vaccinated. Resources are available in most communities to assist with those measures, with most locations in surrounding communities offering same day, or even walk-in appointments for vaccination for children 12 and up. If you choose to not get your child vaccinated, know the risks, educate yourself, and talk to your child’s pediatrician about your concerns. They may be able to put your heart at ease about the COVID-19 vaccine, and in turn, may help you make the decision you need to in order to best protect your child. If your child is unvaccinated, it’s encouraged that they still wear a face covering to ensure their protection against the virus.

It may seem like guidelines and recommendations are updated weekly, if not daily, and most of us might find them mundane and hard to keep up with. However, the bottom line is that even with new research and different strands of COVID-19 threatening our community, the best way to protect yourself and your children from COVID-19 is to continue to take the steps first established over a year and a half ago. Distance, hygiene, and face coverings will help to protect you, even if you are fully vaccinated. Protect your children as they head back to school this fall, and remember, we’re not finished with this race yet. Together, if we continue to practice proper safety measures, we can win and protect ourselves, our children, and our community at the same time.