It is your job as a parent to protect your child and to keep them safe from COVID by any means necessary. That also means being an advocate and being loud with your demands from your school district and your government. Now is the time!
The president mandated that schools get back to normal and have in-class instruction and the secretary of education, Betsy DeVos is promoting the president’s agenda that will lead to death and severe, possibly long-term, illness.
“Your family member is 5xs more likely to die from COVID-19 than a white person. That rate makes you more at risk for dying from a COVID-19 infection that your child may bring home from school.”
This Is Not The Time To Reopen Schools
For our government agencies to reopen schools at this time is inhumane, irresponsible, and heartless. They are putting children and families in harm’s way. Students have a right to be safe at school, and schools, no matter what protocols they put in place are going to be the opposite of safe havens for the coronavirus.
There are prisoners being released from prisons because of the coronavirus and over-crowded facilities. Schools are traditionally over-crowded. Even governor mansions and the White House are shut down for tours because it’s too dangerous to have groups congregate in one area for too long. The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis said, “I’m confident if you can do Home Depot, if you can do Walmart, if you can do these things, we absolutely can do the schools.” Our children aren’t spending seven hours a day and five days a week in Walmart or Home Depot! With COVID-19, the more time you spend in an enclosed environment with droplets from a possibly infected person, the more you increase your chances of catching the virus.
And this is a reminder that the president is acting as an expert on this virus and not the leading virology doctors. The president has been wrong about this virus 100 percent of the time thus far. In addition, at the time of penning this article, he hasn’t conferred with the country’s leading virologist in two-months, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci himself.
Black Families Are Most At-Risk Of Dying From COVID-19
Your family member is five-times more likely to die from COVID-19 than a white person. That rate makes you (an African-American) more at risk for dying from a COVID-19 infection that your child may bring home from school. Not only do we have to be worried about children getting this disease but we must be concerned that these same children unwillingly may create their own status as orphans by bringing this deadly disease home to their parents and/or grandparents.
Employers Must Step Up
Employers need to also step-up to the plate and allow parents who can work at home to continue to do so or to start. Flex-hours are a must at this time for parents to be able to drop off their children and pick them up at school. Otherwise, businesses must be prepared to lose an entire workforce of parents.
What Schools Must Do
Schools must offer parents the option of Blended Learning where there is a choice of virtual school, for parents who can stay home and an option of in-person classes solely for those students of parents who can’t stay home with their children. With the option of virtual school, there will be more room in the classrooms for social distancing instead of over-crowded classes for those students of parents that must work. High school students should be online only. Demand blended-educational options!
These are unprecedented times that require unprecedented actions. We can’t go to what we’ve always done because that’s how we’ve always did it. Let’s brainstorm and offer schools new ideas for options to keep our children safe. Our children can recover their education but they can not recover their lives.
What Parents Must Do To Protect Their Children Going Back-To-School
If you don’t have to work outside of the home, keep your children home with you. If you’re forced to work and must send your children to school, here are some tips that might help to keep them safe.
- Purchase several masks for your child because they will lose them and be rough with them. Make sure reusable masks are washed at least once a week. Purchase a UV sanitizer for daily germ and virus cleaning.
- Prepare your child with the idea of wearing a mask the entire school day. Have a test-run at home and see if your child can do it. Younger children will need several days of practice.
- Tell older children if they need a break, then they can pull their masks down outside away from other people, and then to wash their hands or sanitize them right after touching their mask — and every time they touch their mask. Be sure your child has hand sanitizer with them at all times, preferably hanging on their bookbag strap. Keep a spare bottle in a pocket of their backpack and check their supply every night. Make sure they don’t run out.
- Encourage your child to sanitize their hands upon entering and exiting a room or when coming inside from outdoors. Touching door knobs can spread germs, put a COVID key on their book bag with a retractable key chain to avoid touching doors. The brass key resists viruses and germs and keep hands virus-free.
- Be sure that their eyes are also protected as there has been some speculation that COVID-19 droplets can enter via your child’s eyes. There are masks available for students with built-in eye protection and some have fun designs on them for young children. You can also use a face shield for even more protection.
- Send them with travel packs of cleaning wipes for their desks. They should wipe down shared computer keyboards and mouses before using them.
- Remind them not to let other students get within six feet of them, which is the length of an adult male laying horizontally, and to ask other children that are not wearing masks not to talk to them directly.
- Inform them that if someone coughs on them (especially on purpose) to call you immediately.
- No sharing food or drinks at all.
- If you can, pick your child up and drop them off from school and if not, be sure the school bus driver is social distancing the students. If not, report it to the school board and if the school board does not insist on social distancing, report it to your local news reporter (education reporter).
- These rules are almost impossible for students with severe special needs and disabilities.
“Be sure that your child’s eyes are also protected…COVID-19 droplets can enter via your child’s eyes.”
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Founder & Publisher of Successful Black Parenting
Janice Robinson-Celeste started her journey with a degree in education. She became the early childhood specialist and parent educator for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and for the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center. This is where she began her formal career of public speaking. Robinson-Celeste was with African American Women on Tour and has traveled nationally speaking to parents and professionals at various expos and includes Disney as a client. She has been a director of NAEYC accredited childcare centers and a multimedia news journalist covering the education beat. Later, she founded Successful Black Parenting magazine, obtained her M.B.A., and won awards from Allstate as a Woman of Triumph, alongside Patty LaBelle. She was a journalism professor for Hofstra University in New York, taught multimedia to teens at several high schools, and is a contributing writer for The Huffington Post. In addition, she won a Sarah Award for her work from Women in Communications, the Benjamin Franklin Technology Award, and an Apex Award for her multimedia talent. She is a best-selling author of several parenting and children’s books. Robinson-Celeste once held the title of Mrs. NJ United States (2015) and is currently the executive producer of Ethnic Animations, as well as the publisher of Successful Black Parenting.