By Dr. Josue H. Cortes. M.D. FAAP
As we get ready for back to school, here are some tips which parents will find useful.
1. Be informed to make the best decision for your family
When it comes to the topic of whether to send the kids to in-person classrooms or to enroll them in virtual education, make a decision and stick with it. Right now, no one has all the answers, and each situation is different: what fits one family may not be the best decision for yours. There are no perfect answers, and no one can predict the future. I have noticed that many of our families have great anxiety over not being able to make a decision, and unfortunately, that usually makes the situation worse. This does not mean that you should make a random decision. Rather, look at information from reliable sources, review your family’s situation, then make a decision and go with it.
2. Try not to be overwhelmed
There are so many people in various roles in government, medicine, and education saying different things that one does not know who to trust or whose recommendations to follow. We suggest listening to your school’s guidelines (they are getting their info from local and federal guidelines) and your pediatrician as your primary sources for valid information. This may quiet some of the extra noise so that you can make the best decision for you and your family. Of course, you can listen to news and other sources, but if you try to take in all the information that is coming through all the networks, as well as on your social media, you will likely go insane, and decision making will become more difficult.
3. Follow local mandates
I know that there is a lot of controversy going on over what to do and what not to do, and this issue has been overly-politicized. However, there is one thing that at least appears to be true: No significant morbidity or mortality has been reported as a result of social/physical distancing or wearing a face cover/mask. Do take care of yourself and others.
4. Stay up to date with current information
As classes begin, do keep up with emails/messages sent by the school and teachers and do whatever you can to increase flexibility in your daily routine to allow for change as needed. I know that this is going to be different for every family depending on how much local support you have; however, anything you can do to be ready to have your kids back at school or back home will be a plus if things change and the need arises.
5. Keep your faith
This last point is more personal in nature, and although it will not apply to everyone, I still want to include it as I feel it can only help. When facing an uncertain future, my faith is key. If you are a person of faith, this is a very good time to exercise that faith. The peace that I can get from my personal prayer time has been a solid foundation as my family and I get through this pandemic.
First Choice Pediatrics wishes you and your family a good start in this new school year as we navigate through these challenging times. Even though it now sounds cliché, I know we will get through this.