RAYMOND — Parents can help children understand how to stay healthy at school amid the COVID-19 pandemic as they prepare for the start of the academic year.
“Parents are children’s first teachers, and it is important for them to reinforce the benefits of safe practices when returning to school or participating in any public activities,” said David Buys, Mississippi State University Extension Service health specialist. “Children need to know the risks of COVID-19, and we have to devote time to giving them developmentally appropriate messages and explaining the importance of preventive behaviors like good hand hygiene, wearing a face covering, physical distancing and others.”
Based on current knowledge, most children who contract the illness exhibit limited or no symptoms. Whether or not they have symptoms, children who contract COVID-19 can transmit the disease to family members, school employees and other adults, who could become very ill or die, Buys said.
“This is one of the main reasons our health experts recommend children take the same precautions as adults,” said Buys, who is the father of three young children.
Many children going back to the classroom will be required to wear face coverings. Explaining why this is important is just part of the process, especially for young children, said Melissa Tenhet, director and instructor at the MSU Child Development and Family Studies Center.
“This process isn’t just about discussion, but actually preparing,” said Tenhet. “Children have to be able to put on and take off masks by themselves. So, they need to