Friday, September 3rd 2021, 3:30 pm - A new school year comes with new anxieties, especially when it comes to learning in a pandemic. In this episode of Health and Weather, experts provide insight into the safety protocols put into place, and provide tips on how to get back into a regular routine.
Making the transition from online to in-class learning won’t be easy for many students this year.
From stress and anxiety surrounding COVID-19 to getting readjusted to a ‘normal’ routine -- there’s a lot weighing on the shoulders of students and parents alike.
But experts agree that it’s time to get back on track.
“COVID is something that we are going to live with,” says Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti. “We can do so safely because of vaccination, and the benefit of kids being in school will really be seen hopefully without interruption over the next year.”
School boards across the country have implemented health and safety protocols to help limit the spread of the virus. Some of which include cohorting, masks, distancing and better ventilation.
“These things together greatly reduce the risk of COVID transmission...[this risk is] not zero, but it’s extremely low.”
Dr. Chakrabarti adds that “the best thing we can do to protect our children, especially those who are not able to get vaccinated, is to have the rest of the household, all eligible members, vaccinated.” That makes a protective ring around the child, which can reduce the risk of COVID transmission.
GETTING BACK INTO A ROUTINE
In addition to education, sleep and and routine have also taken a hit since the pandemic.
According to Health Canada, about 25 per cent of students are not getting enough sleep. Five to 13 year-olds should be sleeping 9-11 hours, and 14-17 year-olds should get 8-10 hours per night.
Alanna McGinn, sleep expert and founder of Goodnight Sleep Site, says education is a good place to start when it comes to helping your child get a good night's rest.
“A great way to incorporate early bedtimes with our kids is to start having the conversation of healthy sleep and why we need to now shift that bedtime. And this can start with kids as young as kindergarten.
“Start having conversations with our kids on the benefits of healthy sleep. What does healthy sleep do for us? What does it do for our bodies? How do we feel when we have had a really good sleep? Once your kids start understanding the importance of that early bedtime and why it needs to start happening- they will start being a little bit more accepting with sleep and you are also building a really healthy relationship between your child and their sleep health.”
Sleep is important not only for physical well-being but also mental. Strong communication between parents and children is encouraged to help assess how the school year is going and to keep safety top of mind.
For more tips on how to better ease into an in-class learning environment, please watch the video that leads this article.
Thumbnail image source: Getty Images/fstop123)