Schools across the nation have started their school years. Some are returning to in-person education, while some are going full virtual and some offering hybrid models featuring combinations of in-person and virtual learning—or a choice between the two, like we are doing in the Menasha Joint School District.
Regardless of the model of teaching and learning, it remains important for everyone to take some simple safety precautions to avoid spreading the virus. Here are a few tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Contamination (CDC) that can go a long way toward keeping you and your family healthy.
Understand the virus
You cannot hope to properly avoid spreading the virus if you do not understand how it works. The virus is spread mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced any time an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. Those droplets can then be inhaled by people nearby.
Even asymptomatic carriers of the virus can spread it to other people, so just because you feel healthy does not necessarily mean you are not at risk of spreading the virus.
Wash your hands
Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or about the length of time it takes you to sing the “Happy Birthday” song. It is especially important to wash before eating or preparing food, after handling a mask, after blowing your nose, after using the bathroom, after leaving a public space, after caring for a sick person or before touching your face.
You can also use a hand sanitizer solution with at least 60 percent alcohol, so long as you make sure to sanitize all surfaces of the hands and work the sanitizer into your skin.
Keep your distance
Stay home as much as possible, limiting your excursions for essential trips, such as going to work, taking kids to school or daycare or going to pick up groceries and other supplies. When in public spaces, stay at least six feet away from other people.
Wear face coverings
Simple cloth face masks are one of the best tools to use to prevent spreading the virus. These facial coverings are meant for other people’s protection, not yours; there is a significant reduction in risk of spreading infected droplets if you are wearing a face covering. Reserve surgical masks and N95 masks for healthcare workers, as there continues to be a national shortage of personal protective equipment.
By following these simple steps, we can all do our part to create a safer environment for everyone and to curb the spread of COVID-19 and keep our schools open. This is especially important as fall and winter arrive and we begin to spend more time inside, and as the flu season begins.