Message from the School Nurse Related to Health & Safety

 

Message from the School Nurse related to Health and Safety:

The following information is intended to educate students about good hygiene practices and to prepare all students for attending school confidently and safely.  These recommendations are in line with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for safely returning to school.  Please review this information with your child prior to the start of school.

 

HAND HYGIENE

Regular handwashing is the best way to remove germs, prevent the spread of germs to other people, and avoid getting sick yourself.  Viruses and bacteria can get on your hands when you touch contaminated surfaces or when you are around someone who is sick.  Germs can then enter your body when you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.  Your child should be instructed to:

 

  • Wash hands before leaving home in the morning.

  • Use hand sanitizer and rub hands for 20 seconds when soap and water are not available.  Follow the specific instructions on the sanitizer label.

  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose, or mouth throughout the day.

  • Wash or sanitize hands before eating, after using the bathroom, or whenever hands are soiled.

  • Cough or sneeze into the elbow or a tissue to reduce the spread of germs and follow-up by sanitizing hands.

 

Please click on the following links to review good handwashing practices including a great video reminder from Baby Shark for younger children.

 

Handwashing Steps

Did You Wash Your Hands?

Wash Your Hands with Baby Shark


 

WEARING A FACEMASK

Students are required to wear a mask on the bus and at school.  Masks should not be removed after getting off the bus outside of the school due to the difficulty of controlling social distancing while students are entering the school building.  It is important that students practice wearing a mask for longer periods of time NOW since they will be away from home for approximately 6 hours each in-school day.  The following are a few things that you can do to prepare your child for wearing a mask at school:

 

  • Face masks must cover both the nose and mouth.

  • Face masks may not be shared.

  • Face masks may not have a vent.

  • Face masks should be labeled with first and last name.

  • Cloth masks must be washed daily in hot water.

  • Three-ply surgical type masks or two-layer cloth masks have been shown to be best in minimizing viral spread through the mask.

  • Face shields are not permitted as a replacement for a face mask.

  • All requests for face mask exemptions must be submitted to the school nurse for review by our school physician.

  • Face masks, like other clothing worn at school, must be appropriate and adhere to the dress code.

  • Masks that are not acceptable: Vented masks, gaiter-type masks, bandanas, scarves, or a face shield without a mask.

  • Have multiple masks for your child so that you can wash them daily and have a back-up ready.  

  • Have your child practice putting on and taking off the mask while only touching the straps.

  • Provide your child with a container to store the mask when not wearing (e.g., when eating a snack).  

Please click on the following links to learn about wearing a facemask properly as well as tips for parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding face coverings for children.

 

Facemask Do's and Don'ts

Cloth Face Coverings and Mask Demo

 

SOCIAL DISTANCING

Social distancing, or physical distancing, means keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your own household.  It is known that COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within 6 feet) for a prolonged period of time (10 minutes or longer).  Respiratory droplets deposited in the air after a person coughs, sneezes, or talks can be inhaled by other people nearby, potentially causing germs to spread.  While in school, students will be instructed to maintain a distance of 6 feet from other students and staff as much as possible.

 

Please click on the following link for social distancing information.

Social Distancing

 

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CHILD IS SICK

Your child should stay at home if feeling sick.  Students will not be allowed to remain at school if any of the following symptoms are present:  fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath.  Other symptoms may warrant exclusion from school and will be at the discretion of the School Nurse.  In addition, if your child or any other member of your household tests positive for COVID-19, your child must stay at home even if not experiencing symptoms.  It is important to understand that the exclusion policy for illness is for the health and safety of all students and staff.

 

Please click on the following link for helpful ways to manage symptoms.

Managing COVID-19 Symptoms


 

OTHER WAYS TO PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR SCHOOL

 

  • Make sure that you update your contact information and provide a reliable, trusted emergency contact who will be able to pick-up your child promptly (within 30 minutes) if needed.

  • Talk with your child about how school will look different (e.g., desks spaced farther apart, teachers maintaining physical distance, eating a snack in the classroom, possibly less changing of classes, early dismissal).

  • Talk with your child often about how school is going and how your child is feeling.

  • Watch for behavior changes such as sadness, crying, worry, change in eating or sleeping habits which may be signs of stress and anxiety; reach out to your child’s teacher or counselor with any concerns.

  • Try to attend meetings with school staff when requested.

  • Be a role model for your child by taking care of yourself, wearing a mask in social situations, and practicing physical distancing in group situations.

 

Please click on the following link for more information from the CDC about returning to school.

 

CDC Link 

 

VACCINE AND PHYSICAL EXAM REQUIREMENTS

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:  All requirements for vaccines and physicals remain the same this year for all students, including students who are attending our virtual school program.  The value of vaccines is even more important during this pandemic and will not be waived or extended for the current school year per the New Jersey Department of Health.  The Bridgewater-Raritan School District must comply with this state mandate, and therefore, appreciate your attention to this important matter.  

 

Also, please remember that flu season runs from October to May, with a peak from December through February.  It is highly recommended that your child get a flu vaccine this year to reduce the risk of becoming ill from COVID-19 and the flu virus at the same time.  Even mild respiratory symptoms, such as cough or congestion, will result in your child’s exclusion from school.  The flu vaccine may provide additional protection for potential co-infection, as well as reduce absences from school.

 

Please make sure that your child’s required vaccines are submitted to the School Nurse prior to the start of school.  Remember that updated vaccine records must be submitted for new students to our district as well as 6th grade students (Tdap and MCV4).  Your child will not be allowed to attend our in-school programs nor our virtual programs if vaccines are not up-to-date.  In addition, new students to the district must submit a current physical exam (completed within the last 365 days) within 30 days of enrollment.

 

NJ Vaccine Requirements

 

We look forward to a successful start to the new school year!   Welcome back! 

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