It’s that time of year again! Days are growing shorter, nights are getting (a little) cooler. Back to school is in the air: seeing old friends, making new ones, meeting new teachers or a first day of a new school. So much excitement is in the air! With a new school year, of course, comes another year of Covid-19 challenges.
The state of Connecticut has developed new Covid-19 guidelines for schools in order to maximize the number of days that each child is able to attend school in person. Each school system may have a slightly different approach to the guidance but we will outline the important points here.
This is the name of the new policy that schools are encouraged to adopt for the academic year 2022-2023. This policy is designed to give children and staff with mild respiratory symptoms the option to continue participating in person.
A child or staff member who has infrequent cough, congestion, sore throat, or runny nose can continue participating in person as long as they are:
- Fever free (<100oF) and feel well enough to participate
- They do not live with anyone who has had Covid-19 in the last 2 weeks
- They can consistently and correctly wear a mask
- They test negative for Covid-19 on every day they have symptoms prior to reporting in person and are negative on a final test on the day after symptoms resolve
These guidelines do not apply if there is a fever (defined as over 100oF or feeling feverish) or if they live with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 2 weeks.
It is very likely that your child’s school may have free Covid-19 rapid antigen tests available for you to pick up if you are not able to access any so call the school to inquire.
TIPS FOR A HEALTHY SCHOOL YEAR
Here are some helpful tips designed to help make the transition back to school a little smoother for the whole family.
> All children should be up to date with vaccinations. The AAP recommends that all children 6 months and older receive the annual influenza vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine. As always, you can consult our website for a complete list of all childhood vaccinations by age group.
> Begin with the basics: ensure that children get nutritious meals, sufficient sleep and physical activity. All children perform better with a healthy breakfast. To see if your child qualifies for a free or reduced meal plan, inquire at your school.
> Getting enough sleep is also critical to staying healthy and thriving at school. If your child is still on a summer sleep schedule, try moving bedtimes back by 15 minutes every few days. Getting enough sleep can affect memory, concentration, creativity, and learning.
> Keep Covid under control by referring to the test-mask-go policy above. Indoor masking is always a good idea, especially if your child is unvaccinated, immunocompromised, if a household member is high risk, or if there is high level of community transmission of Covid in your town.
> Stay tuned into your child’s mental health. Starting school can be an exciting but turbulent time for some children. Let your child know it is okay to talk with you about how they’re feeling. Please call our office if your child needs help or you are unsure how to start the conversation. Make family meals a priority. It is a good “check in” time.
> The start of the school year is a good time to create or update a family media plan. You can help your child balance screen time with sleep, exercise, and other healthy activities.
Click the link to see a more in depth discussion of back to school tips
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 in 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. Please watch our website for the latest information.
A SPECIAL THANK YOU:
If you have been to our office lately, you have seen the beautiful flowers that change with the seasons. We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Dr. Margaret (Midge) Sanyal for her continued hard work on the flower beds around BPA throughout the years and even into her retirement! Dr. Sanyal has always had a love of gardening and we have been the beneficiaries of that love for many years. If you see her out in our flower beds, say hello!