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Returning to school: Adapting to the new normal

Medihelp

2020-06-26

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Over the past few months, families have had to adapt to a new way of living, with parents and their kids together at home working, playing and doing schoolwork. But with public and private schools now reopening, families must adapt once again to new routines and structures at home and at school.

Familiarise yourself with the school’s health and safety measures
School principals have already started to communicate with parents regarding the opening of schools, and by making sure you know about all the measures that are in place to secure children’s safety at their school, you – and your child – will have some peace of mind.

Make informed decisions by using reputable sources
Parents can take heart from information published on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website, which states that the current medical evidence available on COVID-19 suggests children have a lower risk for contracting COVID-19 than adults. The South African Paediatric Association also supports the staggered reopening of schools based on medical evidence.

Children at higher risk due to underlying health conditions
If you are concerned that your child might be at higher risk for severe illness if they were to contract COVID-19, be sure to get all the facts so you can make an informed decision before sending your child back to school. 

Keep reminding them of good hygiene practices
By now, your children are also probably in the habit of practising good hygiene measures. You can encourage them to continue these practices at school by giving them hand sanitiser, tissues and a mask to take to school, and reminding them to wash their hands regularly and keep a safe distance from their friends so they will not fall into old habits. Monitor your child closely and alert the school if he/she shows any COVID-19 related symptoms. For precautionary videos and information, visit our dedicated COVID-19 webpage.

Be there for your children
Children who have already returned to school have had to adjust to different procedures and processes, such as different break times and school hours and a different way of interacting with each other to encourage social distancing. This can be overwhelming and confusing, and you will need to be there for them to support and guide them in adjusting.

The Department of Health offers advice to parents about supporting their children, which you can access here.

Importance of screening and testing
Screening and testing for COVID-19 identify new cases and ensure that treatment and contact tracing can be initiated. Read our HealthyInfo explaining the differences between testing and screening, the criteria a patient should meet before getting tested and where you can go to get screened and tested.

Medihelp Medical Scheme provides comprehensive medical aid cover at the scheme tariff in and out of hospital from your core benefits for COVID-19 tests, regardless of the result of the test, if certain criteria are met. Upload all the necessary documentation to register your treatment for PMB on the Member Zone.


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