Questions to ask your child’s school before going back to in-person class

Questions to ask your child’s school before going back to in-person class
There are several questions you should ask your child’s school or daycare before sending them back to the classroom. (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Some kids in South Carolina will be heading back to the classroom in just a few weeks. Live 5 News heard from Tiffin Lamoreaux who is a family nurse practitioner and the Director of Health Services at Ashley Hall. She said parents need to ask both broad and school-specific questions.

“Every family is unique,” Lamoreaux said. “If you have a child with special needs you may be asking different questions than someone with a neurotypical child, and you might want to be asking about the types of accommodations that your child needs in the classroom.”

Here are some other questions she suggests you ask your child’s school or daycare.

1. Will you be cohorting the students?

Lamoreaux: “What age groups are going to be cohorted? How large are the cohorts going to be? Is it going to be an entire grade or our students going to be cohorted by class? That’s going to vary, not only from school to school, but also from division to division within schools.”

2. How will positive COVID-19 cases be communicated to parents?

Lamoreaux: “Obviously, when we will be communicating positive cases we have to maintain confidentiality of the infected individual. However, we do have to reach out to close contacts and notify them that they were identified as a close contact without giving any identifiable information. Also, how will they communicate with you [that your child has] not had close contact to reassure the school and the students that while they should be monitoring for symptoms, they may not have had direct exposure and therefore they don’t need to quarantine?”

3. How will the school bring in substitutes if the teacher tests positive and has to be out of the classroom for two weeks?

Lamoreaux: “Schools are tasked with the astronomical challenge of trying to find staffing to keep the schools open. And one of the things that we are doing with our substitute teachers is stressing to them the importance of maintaining six feet of distance from the students at all times. I know a lot of other schools are also using what they’re calling proctors. We are having our teachers and our substitute teachers adhere to the same guidance that we’re expecting our students, our students and our families we’re asking that they follow social distancing guidelines, wearing a mask when in public, not hanging around large crowds.”

4. Will the school be screening students for symptoms?

Lamoreaux: “While DHEC has kind of relaxed their exclusion criteria to three symptoms, we’ll be screening for all individuals so they are prompted to stay home if they have those symptoms.”

Lamoreaux reminds parents to ask the questions before sending children back to school.

“There are no right or wrong answers,” she said. “I can promise you, in my conversations with school nurses from across the state, every school is doing the very best that they can to do what they can do to help mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19. It’s going to be school-specific, and I think the answers that you get are going to help you decide whether or not going back to school for in person learning is appropriate, or whether or not staying home is appropriate, or exploring other school options if those are available.”

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