The end of August means back to school time for most children! While there is always uncertainty in a new school year, this year seems to contain additional uncertainty due to the Covid-19 Delta variant: Updated CDC information: Delta Variant. However, back to school can also mean a period of renewal, new beginnings, and growth, physically, academically and emotionally.
2021-2022 ACADEMIC YEAR:
We are so excited for our school age patients. Returning to school is a vital part of their growth and essential on their path to adulthood. Each town’s school district will provide guidance as to how they will conduct classes this year. We ask our community to be supportive and patient as we continue to navigate through the Pandemic. We have the potential to succeed only if we work together.
Tips for a healthy school year:
- All children should be up to date on vaccinations. If you are not sure what vaccines your child needs, call your pediatrician. The AAP recommends the annual influenza vaccine for all children age 6 months and older. The AAP recommends all children 12 years and older receive the Pfizer COVID vaccine. If you have any questions, please consider reading information on our website, both on the COVID tab and in our recent newsletters.
- Establish rules and expectations with a built-in routine for each day. Keep bedtimes the same and limit use of digital devices one hour before bedtime.
- If your child is learning in school, provide multiple cloth face coverings for your child, label them so they are not confused with another child's. Practice putting on and taking off cloth face masks with your child while avoiding touching the cloth portions. Remind your child that they should clean their hands before and after touching their mask.
- Have a conversation with your child's teacher so that the teacher understands how your child is handling these times emotionally and academically, especially if there are any specific issues or concerns to be aware of in order to help your child feel comfortable and supported upon returning to school.
- Help children take responsibility for their learning. Don't help too much. Becoming independent takes lots of practice and developing good habits.
- Talk with your child or teen and watch for any signs they need additional mental health support. Call your pediatrician and school if you suspect your child is having trouble adjusting to new routine or struggling academically.
- Parents will need to be on the look-out for any signs that a child is struggling academically or has learning differences. Contact the pediatrician, who can help evaluate if a child has a learning disability or something else going on. The signs are not always clear, and families can find information and support from resources including the Understood organization here.
- Keep your children home from school if they show any sign of illness. Make sure the school has an updated list of emergency contacts. Call your pediatrician to discuss symptoms and next steps. It's possible we may offer a telehealth visit to see your child and address their needs. We may request a COVID test be done prior to an in-person visit.
- Children with disabilities have been especially vulnerable during this pandemic. Make sure you discuss an individualized plan with the pediatrician and educators to keep your child engaged in learning.
- Parents please try to keep yourself safe, healthy and rested so you will have energy for those who depend on you.
**We liked this webpage from the AAP/Healthy children. It has good back to school tips for 2020, which we edited for this academic year ’21-’22. From our understanding, remote learning is no longer an option.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has established guidelines for school re-opening. As members of the AAP, we recommend appropriate masking in children over 2 years of age and for those over the age of 12, to be vaccinated against COVID 19. We can have a successful school year if we can follow the recommendations.
At every physical exam appointment, we provide a blue form for school or a yellow form for daycare. We ask that parents keep a copy of the form before submitting it to the school or daycare. If you are need of a form to be completed, please contact our office. We have a policy regarding form completion. We will do our best to accommodate your needs. If you are due or overdue for a physical exam appointment, please make an appointment as soon as possible. Those coveted after school slots fill up quickly.
We will post in September as to when we will start administering the Flu vaccines in our office.