Our teachers are working with other staff members, industry leaders, students, and parents to come up with the best procedures and tools to keep everyone safe both in the classroom and in their distance learning environments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on CDC and Polk County School recommendations, there are some steps everyone can take to support teacher and staff efforts to assist with slowing the spread. Incorporate these seven measures into your daily routine for an improved chance of staying healthy and ready to learn when going back-to-school.
- Check for Fever & Symptoms at Home
If you have visited a medical facility, started school, attended a religious gathering, or participated in an organized activity for school, you have probably experienced this first step in preventing the spread of COVID-19 for any public engagement. Before students and teachers are allowed to enter Polk County public school buildings or attend school-held activities, at least 20% will have their temperature taken. You can help these efforts by taking your temperature at home each morning before attending school functions and running through a COVID-19 symptom checklist.
- Wear a Clean Properly Fitted Face Mask
By now, you likely have accrued your favorite collection of cloth face masks. If you do not have access to a clean cloth face mask, there are instructions on the CDC website on how to create one as well as how to wear it for optimum protection. Also, we suggest contacting your school for assistance as wearing a face covering is currently a public school requirement in Polk County for grades K-12. However, please stay current with your specific school as policies are subject to change.
- Wash Hands Frequently
The great news is COVID-19 and other virus particles can be simply removed with soap, water, and an average amount of friction. Remember to rub your hands together for 20 seconds. Antimicrobial soaps are not presently considered necessary in order to remove the germs. Hand washing is especially important before eating or drinking. If soap and water are unavailable, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol may be substituted.
- Avoid Touching Your Face
Throughout the school day, you can further reduce your risk of infection by making a conscious effort to avoid touching your face. While there is a chance of airborne particles attaching to your nose, eyes, or mouth, people often become infected after touching a contaminated surface and either eating or touching their nose, eyes, or mouth. Thankfully, when worn appropriately, face coverings help lower the risk of touching these facial areas. Therefore, unless you or your student is fidgeting with the mask, the school face-covering requirement makes this step easier to follow.
- Remain Six Feet or More Apart
A powerful sneeze can reach far beyond the six feet recommendation. That said, maintaining a healthy distance from other individuals is considered a critical component to slowing the spread of this highly contagious virus. Therefore, whenever possible, try to maintain at least six feet from both adults and students alike.
- Watch for Signs of Mental Health Concerns
Many individuals are experiencing some degree of loneliness and sadness from dramatic decreases in human interaction. If you or someone you know have been noticing any significant or ongoing changes in emotional or mental well-being, be sure to tell your primary care physician or school counselor. By looking out for one another, we can help keep our friends, family, and community protected from the harmful effects of such illnesses as depression and high levels of anxiety.
- Notify Your Physician With Physical Symptoms
Sometimes, it can be difficult for individuals to determine if their physical symptoms are due to a cold, allergies, or something more concerning like COVID-19. Unfortunately, cases of COVID-19 may go undiagnosed leading to a greater spread without the infected individual realizing he or she is a carrier. As a result, contacting your physician at the first signs of the disease for a professional diagnosis is a critical component in containing the spread.
Thus, while COVID-19 is changing the way students are being taught this school year, there are some basic care procedures our schools are implementing to better protect our students, teachers, staff members, and community. By following the above suggestions, you can be part of this initiative to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our schools open to students this school year. If you have symptoms or questions about healthy practices during COVID-19 and do not yet have a primary care physician, we welcome new patients at Navarro Medical. Contact our office at (863) 949-6541 during regular business hours or schedule your appointment online on our website. COVID-19 may be an isolating disease, but we will get through it together.