Baaaaack to School Safety Part 2: A Letter from Lucy, Shana’s Mom

Dear Lucky G,

My name is Lucy. You recently received a letter from my only lamb, Shana, who is really nervous about going back to the classroom. I must tell you; I too am concerned. How do I know if I am making the best decision for Shana? I am having a lot of mom guilt. Please help.

Sincerely,

Lucy

Dear Lucy,

I understand your feelings. This is such a scary time for adults and our children. Let’s look at the facts and some tools to help you make this challenging choice.

What are the chances my child will get sick? I could find no research showing schools are super spreaders of COVID 19. There has been no reported widespread outbreak. There will likely be lots of temperature taking. Students or staff with fevers will be sent home. As for someone being asymptomatic and contagious, that’s a risk. However, your child could be exposed to the same risks anywhere, not just school. Remember, young children are in a really low risk group. As for infecting staff, many of them will likely have the vaccine by then and it hopefully will keep any COVID at bay.

How will they keep my child healthy? Students will be required to wear face masks and social distance from each other. There will be sanitizer available and extra disinfecting. If you have specific questions, ask Shana’s teacher or principal. You are certainly not the only one who has worries.

I looked around and found a couple really cool tools.

Here’s the first one.

The Centers for Disease Control released a comprehensive checklist to help caregivers weigh the pros and cons of in-person or virtual learning. Check it out here.

Decision Making Checklist for Virtual or At-Home Learning (cdc.gov)

What is better for my child’s mental health? That’s a difficult question, Lucy. As we know, schools are about more than just academics. They are a place for students to learn social and emotional skills.

I have heard from many parents who have children who are sad being at home and away from friends. That is normal. However, we need to know when that sadness crosses the line into depression.

Thankfully, there is a tool to tell us when that happens. The PHQ-9 is a standard medical questionnaire given to patients gauging their mental health over a two-week period. I am including an interactive link so you can see how Shana scores, as well as anyone else in your family.

PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire-9) – MDCalc

In closing, Lucy, the best advice I can give is…listen. Listen to school leaders. Listen to your inner voice. Listen to Shana. You are a good mom in a tough spot. Be kind to you. I hope this raven’s words have helped you some. Please write to me any time.

Your friend,

Lucky G

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