Very reasonable and relatable questions, indeed… considering the fact that children aren’t vaccinated yet and the very thought of their contracting Covid is morbidly scary!
But, Dr. Reddy’s answer to all these questions is a simple and emphatic YES! CHILDREN SHOULD GET BACK TO SCHOOL!
Shocking? Not really… not when we listen in to the pragmatic angle of his expert reasoning.
Health is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It’s a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. Which means, our children are more likely to be healthy when they interact with other children, when they run around in the playground, when they learn things together. Which is what they’ve been exposed to all the while long… till Covid came in, that is.
With safety becoming the top-most priority, they got locked out of all actions that contributed to their physical, mental and social wellbeing. Understandably so.
But, what about the ill-effects of being caged in?
Cases of children getting obese is on the rise, ‘cause, they just aren’t physically active.
Cut off from all social interactions, they’re getting into a shell… finding it easy to avoid conversing with family and friends, to not even have eye-contact with people in general… and, spend all their time with gadgets all by themselves.
Not a healthy sign at all!
So, against this backdrop, children getting back to school is definitely a welcome sign, even if we pitch it against against the pandemic.
Now… does it mean that we shouldn’t fear Covid?
‘Cause, Covid is not going to go away anytime soon… which means we should be very much on guard, educating our children on how to protect themselves against any possible infection.
We do know that masking, hand-sanitizing and social distancing have been scientifically proven to be simple, yet effective weapons against Covid. Just that we need to take the needed care to impress upon our children that they should follow these guidelines carefully in their own interest and for their own well-being. ‘Cause, it’s very much possible that they may miss out on wearing the mask through the day, or they may hug their friends unconsciously… they may even forget to sanitize their hands periodically.
Considering the fact that such misses are very much possible, it’s equally important for us NOT to scare our children stiff against Covid. They shouldn’t get paranoid about getting infected. If they do, it would defeat the very purpose of their going to school… they would start avoiding all social interactions and that’s definitely not what we are looking at.
One of the other challenges we as parents will face is, getting our children to get back to the school routine. It isn’t going to be easy, ‘cause, they’ve been used to a relaxed lifestyle for close to 19 months now. That’s pretty long time and changing the habit acquired over this period is gonna be difficult. So, we need to gently nudge them out of their comfort zone, instead of hurrying them to change their habits overnight. For instance, we should encourage them to get to bed on time, and get up on time. Small things, but they make all the difference. See any sort of resistence, just help them understand that they’re getting back to school to enjoy the company of their friends and to have fun learning along with others, instead of toiling all on their own. If children see the positive side of going back to school, they’re more likely to change their habits faster.
Going beyond such individual efforts, we should also see it as a combined endeavor in keeping Covid at bay.
For instance, we should get vaccinated first and ensure that all the senior citizens of our family also get their vaccine. This would help the infection from spreading to people even if someone gets affected.
Same way, when we go to pick up our children from the school, we should ensure that we don’t crowd at the gate, ‘cause, that could endanger our own safety.
If the child – or anyone else at home – does develop cold or fever, we should NEVER panic. Just stay aloof from others and take the prescribed medication. Take it easy, ‘cause, contracting Covid doesn’t mean the end of the world.
We shouldn’t forget that everything has already opened up… restaurants, movie theaters, offices, malls, beaches… so, why not schools? All it effectively comes to is, how we handle the situation with care… without panicking and losing our sleep over something that probably isn’t worth it.
Approach the situation with the right understanding, we should be fine with our children getting back to their enjoyable school life. Here’s wishing you and your children a happy return to the exciting school routine!