Welcome to the SCHOOL HEALTH NEWSLETTER, where parents, students, educators and staff can keep current with school health-related items.
Parenting in a Pandemic: Tips to Keep the Calm at Home
Fear, uncertainty, and being holed up at home to slow the spread of COVID-19 can make it tough for families to keep a sense of calm. But it's important to help children feel safe, keep healthy routines, manage their behavior and build resilience.
Here are some tips from the American Academy (AAP) to help your family through the outbreak.
Address children's fears
Children rely on their parents for safety, both physical and emotional. Reassure your children that you are there for them and that your family will get through this together.
Answer questions about the pandemic simply & honestly. Talk with children about any frightening news they hear. It is OK to say people are getting sick, but say following rules like hand washing and staying home will help your family stay healthy.
Recognize your child's feelings. Calmly say, for example, “I can see that you are upset because you can't have your friends over." Guiding questions can help older children and teens work through issues. (“I know it is disappointing not to be able to hang with your friends right now. How do you think you can stay in touch with them?")
Keep in touch with loved ones. Children may also worry about a grandparent who is living alone or a relative or friend with an increased risk of getting COVID-19. Video chats can help ease their anxiety.
Model how to manage feelings. Talk through how you are managing your own feelings. (“I am worried about Grandma since I can't go visit her. The best I can do is to check in with her more often by phone. I will put a reminder on my phone to call her in the morning and the afternoon until this outbreak ends.")
Tell your child before you leave the house for work or essential errands. In a calm and reassuring voice, tell them where you are going, how long you will be gone, when you will return, and that you are taking steps to stay safe.
Look forward. Tell them that scientists are working hard to figure out how to help people who get ill, and that things will get better.
Offer extra hugs and say “I love you" more often.
Keep healthy routines
During the pandemic, it is more important than ever to maintain bedtime and other routines. They create a sense of order to the day that offers reassurance in a very uncertain time. All children, including teens, benefit from routines that are predictable yet flexible enough to meet individual needs.
Structure the day. With the usual routines thrown off, establish new daily schedules. Break up schoolwork when possible. Older children and teens can help with schedules, but they should follow a general order, such as:
wake-up routines, getting dressed, breakfast and some active play in the morning, followed by quiet play and snack to transition into schoolwork.
lunch, chores, exercise, some online social time with friends, and then homework in the afternoon.
family time & reading before bed.
A word about bedtimes
Children often have more trouble with bedtime during any stressful period. Try to keep normal nighttime routines such as Book, Brush, Bed for younger children. Put a family picture by their bed for “extra love" until morning. Bedtimes can shift some for older children and teens, but it is a good idea to keep it in a reasonable range so the sleep-wake cycle isn't thrown off. Too little sleep makes it more challenging to learn and to deal with emotions. Remember to turn off cell phones and other mobile devices an hour before bedtime.
Use positive discipline
Everyone is more anxious and worried during the pandemic. Younger children may not have the words to describe their feelings. They're more likely to act out their stress, anxiety or fear through their behavior (which can, in turn, upset parents, particularly if they are already stressed). Older children and teens may be extra irritable as they miss out on time with friends and special events being cancelled.
Some ways you can help your children manage their emotions and behavior:
Redirect bad behavior. Sometimes children misbehave because they are bored or don't know any better. Find something else for them to do.
Creative play. Suggest your children draw pictures of ways your family is staying safe. Make a collage and hang it up to remind everyone. Or, build an indoor fort or castle to keep the germs at bay, bringing in favorite stuffed animals or toys.
Direct your attention. Attention--to reinforce good behaviors and discourage others--is a powerful tool. Notice good behavior and point it out, praising success and good tries. Explaining clear expectations, particularly with older children, can help with this.
Use rewards & privileges to reinforce good behaviors (completing school assignments, chores, getting along with siblings, etc.) that wouldn't normally be given during less stressful times.
Know when not to respond. As long as your child isn't doing something dangerous and gets attention for good behavior, ignoring bad behavior can be an effective way of stopping it.
Use time-outs. This discipline tool works best by warning children they will get a time-out if they don't stop. Remind them what they did wrong in as few words―and with as little emotion―as possible. Then, remove them from the situation for a pre-set length of time (1 minute per year of age is a good guide).
Special Time In
Even with everyone home together 24/7, set aside some special time with each child. You choose the time, and let your child choose the activity. Just 10 or 20 minutes of your undivided attention, even if only once every few days, will mean a lot to your child. Keep cell phones off or on silent so you don't get distracted.
Avoid physical punishment. Spanking, hitting, and other forms of physical or “corporal" punishment risks injury and isn't effective. Physical punishment can increase aggression in children over time, fails to teach them to behave or practice self-control, and can even interfere with normal brain development. Corporal punishment may take away a child's sense of safety and security at home, which are especially needed now.
The AAP reminds parents and caregivers never to shake or jerk a child, which could cause permanent injuries and disabilities and even result in death. Tips for calming a fussy baby and advice for caregivers who have reached a breaking point can be found here. If you have a friend, relative, or neighbor with the new baby at home, think of ways you can reach out to provide support during the isolation period.
Take care of yourself. Caregivers also should be sure to take care of themselves physically: eat healthy, exercise and get enough sleep. Find ways to decompress and take breaks. If more than one parent is home, take turns watching the children if possible.
Remember to take a breath. In addition to reaching out to others for help, the AAP recommends parents feeling overwhelmed or especially stressed try to take just a few seconds to ask themselves:
Does the problem represent an immediate danger?
How will I feel about this problem tomorrow?
Is this situation permanent?
In many cases, the answers will deflate the panic and the impulse to lash out physically or verbally at children.
Last Updated 4/20/2020
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2020)
How families can cope with COVID-19: https://contentsharing.net/actions/email_web_version.cfm?ep=Wda7dLHy7d2HDwFVFCwnDbqLdYbGaNUF2ATHuRXKsbbtKhiBsU_5FowZYnm8VDSmeCetXsadzl_GQLPflzkLCzpg5_UhFgO33Lj9NDoEUXXaanXXzBFMeDFLc2lcSIRdLLL7_OjiB8Wt...
COVID-19 Updated CDC Guidelines Link: file:///Users/teacher/Downloads/2019-Novel-CV-TP-03162020.108133%20(1).pdf
NOVEL CORONAVIRUS 2020 GUIDELINES
Released January 28, 2020
Novel Coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV) Information for K-12 Schools
Many K-12 school administrators, teachers and parents within New Jersey are concerned about how the current outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Asia will impact their communities and wish to take appropriate steps to mitigate any risks. The word “novel” means new. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working hard to learn as much as possible about this new virus so that they can better understand how it spreads and its associated illness. The New Jersey Department of Health is also working hard by developing guidance and education materials should this new virus impact our residents.
What is the difference between seasonal and novel coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses and there are different types of coronavirus within that family, much like there are different types of influenza viruses. Coronaviruses in general are not new, they are quite common and are a frequent cause of respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. Coronaviruses tend to circulate in the fall and winter months, similar to influenza. Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives.
The type of coronavirus that has recently emerged in Wuhan, China is a new type of coronavirus and is infecting people for the first time (which means that people do not have any immunity to it).
What are common symptoms of 2019-nCoV?
Information to date suggests this virus is causing symptoms consistent with a respiratory illness such as cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
How is 2019-nCoV spread?
At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. Chinese officials report that sustained person-to-person spread in the community is occurring in China. Person- to-person spread in the United States has not yet been detected, but it’s likely to occur to some extent. Cases in healthcare settings, like hospitals, may also occur.
How is 2019-nCoV treated?
Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the coronavirus. There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
What precautions should be taken for a person who traveled to China?
The CDC recommends that travelers avoid non-essential travel to Wuhan, China. Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan.
If a person traveled to China in the last 14 days and is sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing they should:
Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
Avoid contact with others.
Not travel while sick.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand
sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
If a traveler who returns from China is not ill, they may continue to attend school.
What preventive measures should a school take to help reduce the spread of respiratory illness?
NJDOH recommends that schools and childcare settings increase education on respiratory hygiene. Staff and children (as developmentally appropriate) should all be taught and asked to follow these steps that prevent the transmission of respiratory infections:
Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into your sleeve, not your hands.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing. Use alcohol-
based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Stay home if you’re sick, especially with a fever.
Avoid people who are sick.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
Additional preventive measures include:
Adhere to exclusion recommendations from public health. For acute respiratory illness; fever
free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication. Doctors notes for return do not supersede
public health recommendation.
Separate sick students and staff from others until they can be picked up to go home.
Provide adequate supplies, including clean and functional handwashing stations, soap, paper
towels, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Encourage routine surface cleaning through education, policy, and the provision of supplies.
Get a flu shot – it’s not too late to be protected!
School Cleaning Procedures
Special sanitizing processes beyond routine cleaning, including closing schools to clean every surface in the building are not necessary or recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illness. Schools should
follow standard procedures for routine cleaning and disinfecting with an EPA-registered product. Typically, this means daily sanitizing surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands-on learning items, faucet handles, phones and toys.
Outbreaks involving novel coronaviruses evolve quickly and recommendations from public health officials may change frequently as new information becomes available. Please check the following websites often for updated information.
For more information:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/summary.html
New Jersey Department of Health website at https://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/schoolhealth.shtml
GENERAL HOUSEKEEPING: Please, provide all emergency medications with proper documentation, signed by your child's health care provider to the nurse as soon as possible. Also, all 2018-2019 Well Child Physicals are to be submitted to the School Nurse. Medical forms to be filled out by your child's health care provider are provided in the link above titled "Printable Medical Forms". Please print out the Universal Health Record and bring the blank form to be filled out by the Pediatrician and submit to the School Nurse. If your child is to participate in Athletics, please print out the Sports Participation Physical form and return to school before the sport begins.
· All students are required to have an updated immunization record on file in order to stay in school. Influenza vaccines are mandatory ny NJ State law for children ages 6 to 59 months of age. All students ages up to 59 months as of December 31st must provide documentation of receipt of annual flu shot. Students who fail to provide documentation by reopen date in January will be EXCLUDED from attending school until proper documentation is provided.
· Annual school health screenings for vision, hearing, height, weight and blood pressure (K-8th Grade) will be conducted on Fridays throughout the school year. You will be promptly notified of any referrals. Scoliosis screenings will take place in the month of May. Consents will be sent home in advance. Please, if you would like your child to be screened for scoliosis, sign and return the consent form in a timely manner.
· Allergy & Asthma season is approaching. Monitor all symptoms closely and follow your health care provider’s advice. Medical care plans, rescue inhalers, and Epi pens are a necessity. Please be sure to provide all rescue medication to the School Nurse alongside proper documentation. All medications must have a printed pharmacy label with your child's name on box.
· If your child has a health condition or needs special care during the school day such as medication, treatments, or monitoring, please inform the school nurse.
· Please provide a current and working phone number with the school office.
· Periodically visit the school nurse web page for monthly newsletters, information on student health policy, printable medical forms, and other helpful links.
If your child is absent due to illness or injury, please, provide the school with a doctor's note so that they may attend school. Children must be fever-free for 24 hours or more to return to school. If your child incurs 3 or more consecutive absences, a doctor's note is required to return to school.
If you have any questions or if your child has any medical concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the School Nurse.
Emergency Medical Forms, Medications in school, & School Nurse Website! Emergency medical forms were sent home with students on the first day of school. Thank you for filling out the forms and returning them back to school so promptly! If there are changes during the school year in regard to emergency contact names or numbers, please inform the main office. Students who need medication during school hours (including inhalers and epi-pens) will need to have an adult or guardian complete the medication form accompanied by a physician’s order to have medication administered during school. All medication received by the nurses office must be in its original pharmacy labeled container. Please be sure to check out the School Nurse Website online, all health-related school forms are online and can be printed at home if needed. I have also included helpful information about school screenings, health links.
Thank you for your cooperation and support! Please do not hesitate to call if questions or concerns should arise.