What parents should know about reopening schools for student preparation and exams

Advice for the safety of children, parents and teachers

UNICEF
A young student does her homeward from home
UNICEF/Schverdfinger
29 May 2020

After a long absence from the classrooms, students in their final years will soon return to schools to prepare for and take the exams. By following the advice below, you’ll make sure that your child's reunion with teachers and colleagues will be safe, without unnecessary risks which can add even more stress to the family.

According to the legislation, it is your right, as a parent, to decide for or against the return of the child to school for the period of preparation. Take into account the child's health, the route to school and how can she or he travel safely, but also the health of family members with whom the child comes into contact. If all these allow the return, encourage the child to go to school, where he/she will meet again with teachers and colleagues, which is very important for children’s well-being.

Encourage your child during this period. Give him/her support and understanding, because the stress of the exam combines, this time, with that of a period in which our behavior must be different. His/her interaction with friends is no longer what he/she was used to and the child needs support for adaptation.

Talk to him/her about COVID-19 and the importance of protecting oneself and others when going to school.

Children will appreciate the openness with which you talk to them, the confidence you show in them, and the fact that you consider them responsible people. Explain to them how they will continue to be protected at school - through physical distance measures and the fact that a medical staff will be present in each school during classes and exams.

Explain to the teenager how to wear a mask to protect themselves and how to handle it. The mask should cover the nose, mouth and chin and should only be touched by the elastic that attaches to the ears.

The mask must be worn in the means of transport and in all other closed places - shops, medical office, school. Because we are not yet used to wearing masks, a feeling of discomfort may occur, but this attenuates over time (you can, for example, make a comparison with wearing a seat belt). Explain to the child the need to change the mask at most two hours or when it gets wet from breathing.

Explain to the child the importance of hand washing and hand disinfection. If you can, give the child a small bottle of disinfectant gel, which he / she should always have on him/ her.

Keep in constant contact with the school, through teachers, to keep updated with all school decisions regarding the organization of training courses and exams.

Ask the school principal what hygiene and prevention measures the school takes to resume classes (how students will be sitting in class, how many hours a day they will go to school, if there are markings and signs for students, if the school has drinking water - or at least running water - and hand soap or disinfectant).

Work closely with the school, in turn, and inform the teacher about the child's health. If your child has a fever, dry cough, tiredness or difficulty breathing, do not let him/her go to class and inform the teacher.

Also, if someone in the household or relatives with whom your family has recently come into contact, is isolated, or is diagnosed with COVID-19, do not leave the child at school and inform the teacher.

If you accompany your child to school, avoid crowded ares, especially during exams. Set up a meeting point with the child, away from the school entrance. As much as possible, avoid physical contact with the child until you get home, wash your hands and change your clothes.