Monday, August 17, 2020

Things We’re Doing to Keep Our Family Safe While Our Kids Attend School In-Person

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Due to the pandemic this year, parents everywhere have had to make some very hard decisions regarding the new school year.  Some schools are requiring in-person attendance, some are only offering distance learning, some are providing various hybrid options, and some are offering all of the above and allowing the parents to choose the option that works best for their family.

Our kids attend a small private school and we were given the option to attend in-person or to do distance learning, and ultimately, we chose to send our kids back in-person to start the new school year.  I won’t go into the details behind our decision-making process, but you can read a little about it here if you’re interested. 

Our decision was not made lightly, and I spent many a sleepless night assessing the benefits versus the risks of in-person learning.  We knew that by choosing in-person learning, it would require a lot of extra work on our part to try and reduce their risk of exposure to the virus as much as possible, but we ultimately decided it would be worth the extra work for the kids to have some sense of normalcy in their lives again. 

We know that taking all of these precautions does not guarantee the complete safety of our children from the virus.  There will always be a risk of exposure when other people are around regardless of how careful you are.  However, it does, at least, give me some peace of mind knowing that we are doing everything we possibly can to protect them.

We also know that the decision we made is not for everyone, and that’s okay.  Everyone should be making their own decisions based on what’s best for their own families, and we should all be respectful of the decisions that others make.    

Here are some of the things we’re doing this year to keep our family safe while the kids attend school in-person.

Safety Measures Our School is Taking

-       All faculty and staff were required to have negative Covid test results prior to the start of the school year.
-       All students have their temperatures checked in the car line every morning at drop off.  If temperatures are above 100, kids are not allowed out of the car and must be taken back home to distance learn.
-       If sick, kids must have two negative Covid test results before they are allowed to return to school.
-       Everyone is required to sanitize their hands upon entry to the school.
-       Everyone is required to wear a mask at all times except during lunch.
-       All students were provided with one mask with the school logo, but they’re also allowed to wear any other masks that they prefer.
-       All students were provided with a lanyard to attach to their masks to prevent them from falling on the floor and being exposed to germs.
-       The school office has clean, disposable masks on hand in the event that someone’s mask breaks or gets lost.
-       Social distancing is being enforced in all classrooms and around campus.
-       All parents and visitors are restricted from entering the school building.
-       Kids in lower grades will not be changing classes to prevent the spread of germs.
-       Weekly mass will be livestreamed to all classrooms so the kids will not be congregating in church.
-       Classes will remain separated in all common areas to avoid cross-contamination among classrooms.
-       Class instruction will be moved outside as circumstances/weather permits.
-       Lunch time will be moved outside as circumstances/weather permits.
-       New signage was placed all around campus reminding the kids to wash hands, wear masks, and keep their distance, and they also have decals placed on the floors to show where to walk, where to stand, etc. to maintain proper distancing.
-       There is increased sanitization protocol for the entire school overall (extra disinfecting throughout the day, extra disinfecting in the evening, etc.)
-       There is a comprehensive plan in place to pivot to distance learning should the need arise.

Our Family’s After-School Routine

-       Kids are immediately provided with a hand sanitizing wipe each day when they get in the car at school pickup. We love Wet Ones.  They’re super hard to find right now (as you can imagine), but every now and then Amazon will have them available here.
-       Kids take off their shoes and leave them by the door when we get home, so they do not spread germs throughout the house.
-       Kids wash their hands after taking off shoes.
-       Kids take off their school uniforms and put them directly in the dirty laundry bin.
-       Kids wash their hands one more time as an extra layer of protection (since there could be germs on their school clothes), and then they’re free to get snacks, do homework, or do whatever they want to do if they don’t have homework.
-       Diffuser is loaded up with Thieves (Young Living’s germ-busting oil) every afternoon and evening to purify the air in the house (click here if you’re interested in getting more info on it… I couldn’t live without it!).
-       Kids take showers every single evening without fail.  (Occasionally, during the winter when they don’t sweat as much, we’ll let them skip an evening if we’re pressed for time, but that will not be happening anymore.)

How Our Family is Managing Masks

-       Kids’ masks are washed after every use, so they go to school with a clean mask each day.  We’re obviously going to be going through a lot of masks, so I ended up ordering several of these 3-packs from GAP for each of the kids, so we don’t have to wash them every single night.  The masks are comfortable, machine-washable, well-made, and in my opinion are better than all others I’ve seen so far because they have the metal strip across the top so you can mold the mask to fit around your nose.  Their ear straps are also the softest I’ve seen because they’re made from spandex instead of elastic, which is harder.  Our small kids have been wearing them for nearly eight hours every day and they aren’t the least bit bothered by them.  I cannot recommend them enough!
-       Kids’ masks are labeled with their names, so we don’t have to worry about them getting mixed up with anyone else’s.  These no-iron labels are amazing!  You just write their name on the label with a permanent marker and press the label in place wherever you want it.  You don’t iron them on, but they are somehow permanent, so you can throw them in the washer and dryer, and they won’t come off.  I was floored when I found these, and so far, they are holding up well as advertised.
-       An extra, clean, labeled mask is stored in a plastic bag in the outside pocket of each of the kids’ backpacks at all times (in case theirs breaks or gets lost).
-       An extra, clean, labeled mask for each child is stored in a plastic bag in both of our vehicles at all times (because we like to have back-ups for our back-ups… what else can I say?).

Things Our Family is Doing to Clean and Sterilize

-       Kids’ thermoses are washed every single day.  (I used to let them take the same one a couple of days in a row since they’re only used for water, but we are washing every day now just to be safe.)
-       Lunchbox freezer packs are washed every single day.  (Again, I usually do not wash them every day as the kids really don’t even touch them, but we’re just being extra cautious.)
-       Dinner table is sanitized with Thieves cleaner after the kids finish their homework.  (We don’t want any germs from their school binders and books getting onto our dinner plates!)
-       Uniform items are washed after every single use.
-       Backpacks and lunchboxes are washed at the end of every week. (I used to only wash them a few times throughout the school year, but we’ll now be doing this weekly.)
-       Floors and other surfaces in our home will be cleaned/sanitized more frequently.
-       Hand towels will be washed more frequently.
-       Kids’ bath towels will be washed more frequently.

Things Our Family is Doing to Boost Our Immune Systems

-       Taking a multi-vitamin every single morning (I take these and the kids take these)
-       Taking an elderberry supplement every single morning since it’s known for it’s immune-boosting properties (B and I take these, and the kids take these)
-       Rolling Thieves up and down our spines every morning before school and on bottoms of feet before bed (again, if you’re interested in trying, click here or email me if you have questions)
-       Drinking lots of water to stay hydrated
-       Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to ensure we’re getting the proper nutrients our bodies need
-       Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night (B and me), and 10-12 hours per night (Jacob and Olivia)
-       Exercising regularly


-       Kids have their own labeled hand sanitizers in their backpacks.
-       Kids are taking lunches from home every single day instead buying food from the cafeteria, although, we will probably ease up on this eventually since it’s really no different than getting takeout from restaurants, which we’ve been doing throughout the whole pandemic.  (We are trying to support local business as much as possible so the places we love will still be open when all of this is over.)
-       We are doing daily temperature checks in our household as an added precaution.  We figure, hopefully if someone does get sick, we can catch it early by doing this.  We purchased this infrared non-contact thermometer because it has great reviews and is said to be highly accurate. 
-       We prepped our home for distance learning so we can pivot at a moment’s notice.

Things We Did to Prep for Distance Learning

-       Purchased this Chromebook for Jacob (his was purchased in March when they had to do distance learning the first time)
-       Purchased this Chromebook for Olivia (hers was recently purchased in case we have to pivot to distance learning again…prior to this, she was using Brian’s old laptop and it was not reliable)
-       Purchased this mouse for each kid (because everyone hates scrolling on a laptop)
-       Purchased this printer (unfortunately ours just died and B was unable to fix it, so a new printer it is!)
-       Purchased lots of printer paper
-       Purchased handwriting paper for Olivia (It was purchased back in March when she was still in kindergarten, but it’s good to know we have it in case she needs it for first grade, although I doubt she will.)
-       Both kids will wear Brian's and my noise-cancelling headphones (similar here) during Zoom meetings so they don’t distract each other.
-       Our dining room table is rarely used, so it’s already available and waiting to be our designated area should the need arise.
-       Crayon and pencil baskets are loaded
-       Momma has lots of wine on standby ;o)

In addition to all of the above, I have also been doing lots and lots of praying… because that’s probably the most important thing we can do in these circumstances.  I know that, really, I’m not even the one who is in control… God is.  I can bend over backwards preparing for every single little thing, but ultimately, the outcome rests in His hands.       

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  1. Best of luck to you all as schools starts!

  2. I’m with you on all the praying! God is in control!

  3. I pray that it continues to go smoothly. Thanks for sharing all of the precautions you are taking. If we do get to go back later this year I will have to use some of them

    1. Thank you! I'm glad I could help. I hope y'all get to go back soon!

  4. It seems like you guys have covered your bases as much as possible! Hoping that the in person learning continues to go well...I know how much you said the kids are loving being back, and I am sure being able to get back to a somewhat normal routine for you is nice, too!

  5. I am so thankful I didn't have to make that decision for our daughter, as she isn't even two yet. You are doing a great job taking all the precautions you can. Good luck with the school year!

  6. It sounds like you are doing a lot to make sure everyone stays healthy! I know I have to label our masks and make sure they have extras with them!

  7. This is so helpful. I'm hoping Jack will be back in person after Labor Day, so I will be implementing some of these ideas. Thanks!

  8. Wow! I am so glad for you that your kids can go back to school in person. I have to admit that it makes me tired to read all the things you have to do to try to keep them safe, but it also makes me really proud of you. Well done, Mom! I pray that you all stay safe and healthy and that this year can be a special blessing to you all.

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I'm featuring you this week!


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