A: While there are no stringent guidelines, we know that we should wash everything frequently with soap and water. Continue to follow SMART guidelines. And make it a routine and it will be easier to remember.
Here are some guidelines for children returning to school in descending order of importance:
1) Reinforce hand washing. Pack a bag with hand sanitizer for on the go snacks and for times when there isn’t a sink around. See our instructions here for how to get rid of our hand germs.
2) Wash masks daily and put them on/remove them properly. Pack an extra mask every day and keep it in a sealable container to swap out the soiled mask. See our instructions here on why we wear masks and how to wear one correctly.
3) Leave shoes at the door if concerned about tracking in germs. Early studies showed that the virus could be found on the soles of shoes in hospital workers, but we don’t have this evidence for schools or everyday living. Still, it can’t hurt.
4) Change clothes after school if concerned about your child’s potentially germy interactions at school. Place dirty clothes and daily mask in a specific school clothing laundry container (preferably lined with a washable liner). We know that the virus is less likely to live on porous surfaces (think clothing vs. handles, countertops, and doorknobs), but again, it can’t hurt to make it part of the routine early on. Do not shake the clothing out (this can theoretically spread the virus). Launder as you normally would (soap and water can help remove the virus), but if you are concerned wash in warm water and dry completely. Launder the liner and disinfect any hard surfaces of the laundry bin every few days as well.
5) Disinfect bottoms of shoes, frequent use items, and backpacks daily for an additional step (note: disinfecting can happen with a spray with at least 70% alcohol, for example, whereas cleaning involves soap and water).
Steps 1 and 2 are critical. Steps 3-5 are extra credit options for people concerned with additional risks (You can pick and choose which one of these steps you would like to take). Remember you want to choose what is sustainable for you and your family. And then stick to it. Routine matters for children…..and for us!
Stay safe. Stay sane. And happy back to school….whether physically in school, at home, or at a support center!