As the 2020-21 school year approaches, families are thinking less about backpacks and lunchboxes and more about academic pods, virtual education, babysitters and tutors.
Some families may be relying on extra support from relatives. Some families are organizing pods – small groups of students, with a hired tutor or teacher – to replace or supplement their children’s traditional education. Some families are facing the decision about whether to send their children to in-person classes or daycares. And some families are trying to decide how to safely expand their child’s social bubble.
As families weigh their unique situations, these are some factors they can consider:
Organizing a Learning Pod
Families trying to organize an academic pod should consider:
Screening practices: Before agreeing to participate, parents should consider asking other families whether they have recently traveled and whether anyone in those families has tested positive for COVID-19. It’s also worth asking the families to describe their routines. Do they regularly go to gyms? Eat at restaurants indoors? Have they recently taken a vacation to a crowded beach or have plans to travel? Will they participate in gatherings outside the pod?
Setting: Will the pod take place in someone’s home, outdoors or in an indoor public facility?
Size: How many children and adults will be part of the pod?
Masks: Will children be required to wear masks while participating in the pod? Will they be required to wear masks indoors? Outdoors? Both? Everyone should be required to wear masks when indoors or when within 6 feet of others.
Babysitters and Tutors
Many parents are hiring babysitters or tutors to care for their children while parents are working either from home or on site. It’s best if the babysitter/tutor is someone you have known for a while, as it helps with trusting them to be truthful about their symptoms and exposures.
Good questions to ask are:
- Do you have a fever? Fever is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19.
- Have you had a cough, congestion, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea in the past two weeks?
- Have you been in contact with anyone with COVID-19 in the past two weeks?
- Have you traveled in the last two weeks? If the answer is yes, ask for details, and then use your judgment to determine if you are comfortable with the situation.
- When you go out in public, do you wear a mask if you can’t maintain at least 6 foot physical distancing?
For the full article, visit Kaiser Permanente's website.