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Health 22nd Sep 2020

Back to School Health and Safety

Back to School Health and Safety

With the back to school season in full swing, the decision of whether to send your children back to school has been very stressful. Returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic presents a new set of worries for parents and caregivers. With schools re-opening it’s important the recommendations set by public health officials are implemented and adhered to. Providing children with nutritional, emotional, and physical support can reduce anxiety for both children and parents and caregivers. Here are three different ways you can ensure you send your kids back to school safely.

Nutritional Support

Offering children a breakfast with at least 1 serving of fruit or vegetables provides nutrients that contribute to healthy immune and nervous systems. Here are two quick recipes to try with your children during the school term.

Morning smoothie

Serves 2-3 kids or one adult, one child.

Ingredients:

Optional ingredients:

Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth and creamy.

Zucchini oats

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 3/4 cups milk of choice (use fortified oat, almond or rice milk if using plant-based milk)
  • 1 zucchini*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg, or to taste
  • Pinch of salt**
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)***

Optional:

  • Fruit toppings such as banana or blueberries

Directions:

  • Grate zucchini
  • Add oats, milk, grated zucchini, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a medium saucepan
  • Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, allow to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring regularly and adding additional milk of choice to reach your desired porridge consistency
  • Remove from the heath, add maple syrup, and stir to combine
  • Serve into bowls and arrange chopped fruit over top

Notes:

* You can also peel the zucchini to remove the green for prying little eyes, but this will reduce the fibre content.

**Added salt is generally not recommended for babies and young children.

***For children aged 0-3 years old it is not recommended that your little one consumes any added sugar.

Emotional Support

One of best ways to provide emotional support for children is to listen to and empathize with their concerns about returning to school. Parent’s and caregivers play an important role as a trusted source of information as well as a confidante. It is important child feel comfortable to express their worries or anxiety, so that parents and caregivers can be as prepared as possible.

Providing emotional support can be difficult when you are not physically with your child. Bach Kids Rescue Remedy is a natural solution that provides stress and emotional relief that is safe for children to take. It contains a natural mix of 5 flower essences that can help children deal with everyday fears, worries, sadness, and school issues.

Ingredients:

Recommended dose: Take as directed by a health care practitioner. Children over the age of 1 to adults take 4 drops directly on the tongue or added to water 1-3 times per day.

Physical Support

There are certain personal preventive practices that can be implemented by students to help protect themselves while at school. This can include using non-medical cloth masks or face coverings, regular hand washing, respiratory hygiene or cough etiquette and using hand sanitizer when hand washing is not available. Each school district has put different implementations in place; these should aim to “layer” multiple measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19. It’s best to check with your local school district and children’s school to be familiar with their measures and implementations.

Masks

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) recommends non-medical masks are worn in situations where a student cannot maintain physical distance for extended periods of time and is in close proximity to a person outside of their regular contacts. This includes riding the bus to school where a student may be sitting next to a person outside of their cohort or household.

Non-medical masks are not recommended for elementary students on buses due to the increased likelihood they will touch their face and eyes, as well as required assistance to properly put on and take off their mask (requiring increased close personal contact from school staff).

No student is required to wear a non-medical mask if they do not tolerate it.

Handwashing

BCCDC also recommends handwashing as one of the best ways for all age groups to prevent infection and protect loved ones is to wash their hands regularly and avoid touching their face. Hand should be washed regularly, especially before and after eating, coughing, sneezing, after adjusting a face mask, and as soon as they return home after school. Liquid or foam soap is preferred for hand washing, using any temperature of water, as cold water and warm water are equally effective at cleaning hands as long as soap is used.

Using Hand Sanitizer

BCCDC recommends using hand sanitizer if washing hands is not possible. You can use certain alcohol-based Health Canada approved hand sanitizers on children. Look for hand sanitizers with a Health Canada natural product number (NPN), and please read labels carefully as some products are for adult use only and should not be used by children.In addition to providing hand sanitizer, a Soap Stix provides access to natural liquid soap so children can confidently wash their hands anywhere there is water.

In times like these, it’s important to let your parental or caregiver’s instinct guide you as to what options you chose for your family unit. Being prepared with information can help you make informed decisions, so that you can feel confident you’ve made the right choice for your children and yourself.

AUTHOR BIO

Lesley O’Connor, BHSc is a certified senior herbalist at Finlandia’s own herbal dispensary. Lesley has a special interest in women’s health, especially postpartum care, and believes that all women should have access to emotional, physical and social support during the postnatal period.

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. Please seek medical advice and treatment in case of illness. If you are pregnant or suffer from any illness, please seek advice from your healthcare provider regarding these or any supplements and herbs you may want to take.