At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, most school districts were planning to open the 2021-2022 academic year normally. Then, in July 2021, the Delta variant began causing increased infections in the United States, leading most schools to rethink their opening plans. As you stock up on Wellements baby cough medicine and prepare to send your kids back to school, here’s what you need to know about safely resuming in-person instruction.
Understanding the New Variant
The Delta variant has been circulating since December 2020, and it is a mutation of the original COVID-19 virus that has been infecting people since December 2019. The variant has many of the same symptoms as the original virus:
Shortness of breath
Loss of smell or taste
What sets the variant apart is how contagious it is. Researchers estimate that the Delta variant is almost twice as easy to catch as earlier variants.
Vaccinating Your Kids
Although the Delta variant has caused a number of breakthrough cases in people who are vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines remain highly effective at keeping people safe from hospitalization.
If your kids are 12 or older, they can receive the Pfizer vaccine. If possible, have them vaccinated before the school year begins so that they can more safely interact with classmates and family members. For younger kids, watch for approval from the Food and Drug Administration for vaccinations to begin for their age groups.
Wearing masks and social distancing are still effective ways to keep the coronavirus from spreading. Social distancing may be hard for your kids while they’re at school, so encourage constant mask-wearing whenever they’re inside.
Consider investing in surgical or N95 masks for your unvaccinated kids, or have them wear two masks at once for extra protection. Remind them about good mask-wearing habits that they may have forgotten over the summer, such as covering their noses and chins.
Keeping Your Kids Healthy
For both unvaccinated and vaccinated kids, keeping your students healthy this school year has never been more important. Talk to your doctor about the best vitamins for preschoolers, and make sure that your kids are eating healthy foods to boost their immune systems. Aim for high amounts of vitamin C, which you can find in oranges, cherries, broccoli, spinach, and many other fruits and vegetables.
Giving your kids plenty of time to sleep is also key for protecting their immune systems against the Delta variant. If you’re wondering how to implement better sleep patterns, encourage your kids to shower before bed and turn off overhead lamps.
Put away all screens and other blue light sources for an hour before bedtime, and do soothing activities such as reading books and talking about your days. As the school year starts, watch for signs that your kids aren’t getting enough sleep, such as meltdowns and naps.
Going back to school can be stressful with the Delta variant. Use these ideas to guide your children through the first months safely and healthily.