Staying Healthy in the New Normal for Families and Educators

By Dr. Marjaneh Gilpatrick and Tracy Vasquez

Students washing their hands

How can families and educators incorporate some best practices for staying healthy in home and school environments?

Newly incorporated healthy routines can be used as a springboard to enhance and enrich the current practices for well-being and safety in homes and schools. Below are some ways to make sure that your students and their families are safe.

Educate Students and Families

When to Stay Home

  • When students have a fever, they are most likely fighting some type of an infection and may be contagious. Staying home will prevent the spread of the illness.
  • Avoid large crowds and try to limit your interactions with no more than 10 people at one time. Per recent CDC guidelines, keep a distance of at least six feet.
  • If not feeling well, avoid visiting elderly family members or those with compromised immunities.

Practice Good Hygiene

  • When coughing and/or sneezing, students should cover their mouths.
  • Do not share water bottles, cups or other personal items.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after coughing and/or sneezing. A good way to ensure that hands are washed properly is to sing the ABCs while washing your hands from fingertip to wrist.
  • In the absence of soap and water, use hand sanitizers to clean hands.
  • After playing outside or visiting places where others may have been, it may be a good practice to bathe and change into clean clothes.
  • Clean and disinfect high contact surfaces in home and classrooms. This is a 2-step process: first wipe down the area and then apply a disinfectant solution. After two minutes, wipe the disinfectant solution. It is important to allow the solution to “hunt and kill” any bacteria that may be present.

Practice a Healthy Lifestyle

  • When there is a cut or a scrape, make sure that the area is cleaned, disinfected and covered.
  • Drinking water ensures that the body is hydrated and prepared for learning.
  • When students are eating balanced and nutritious meals, they are more prepared to fight off infections.1 Keeping full and focused also helps them concentrate on learning their academic content.
  • It is important to remain physically active and spend some time outdoors. Fresh air and plenty of sunshine always help to fight off germs and help to promote a positive outlook.
  • Incorporate some quiet time for prayer and meditation. This time should be when electronics are off so that distractions are kept to a minimum.

By working collaboratively with your students and families on these shared responsibilities, you are promoting a healthy and happy learning environment.

Want more? Check out all of the articles from Teaching Tuesday and return each week for a new post. To learn more about the College of Education and our degree programs, visit our website and join in our efforts to elevate the education profession.

Retrieved from:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

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