As most schools in Australia begin to reopen after a few weeks of lockdown, it is important to follow safety tips to prevent injuries, as well as the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
This article aims to support students, teachers, and school staff with information on injury management, physical distancing, and first aid.
Back to School in Australia
Every student across Australia deserves a high-quality education while learning in a healthy and safe environment. Despite our continuous recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever for schools and communities to prioritise safety.
One key lesson we learned during these trying times is the important role of teachers and educators in ensuring that learning continues. As schools start to reopen, many students will make up for knowledge and skills that may have been lost due to lockdowns.
With that said, here are some key tips that will help keep everyone safe and healthy throughout the school year.
6 Safety Tips for Going Back to School during COVID-19
- Social Distancing in Classrooms
Australia’s guidelines on social distancing require students to maintain at least 2 metres of separation in class. It is also recommended for classes to be divided into one or more groups to avoid overcrowding. Doing this practice results in low COVID-19 transmission levels among students, along with the use of masks.
When possible, it is advised to use outdoor space for school activities and meal breaks to help with distancing.
- Get COVID-19 Vaccine
Children over the age of 12 and above are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine should they want to get immunised before the school year starts. You will get 2 doses of the same vaccine for Pfizer or Moderna and a single dose for Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J).
- Cleaning, disinfecting & hygiene
Schools and daycare facilities should follow government guidelines on classroom sanitation and disinfection of common areas. Students and school staff are encouraged to wash hands frequently with soap and clean water. When possible, open windows and doors to improve airflow inside classrooms.
- Use of Face Masks
Everyone over the age of 2 should wear face masks to cover the nose and mouth area. When worn correctly and consistently, a face mask can protect students from viruses and other respiratory illnesses. Face masks are also safe to wear for long periods, even during a school day.
- Behavioural health and emotional support
Teachers and school management must be prepared to support a wide range of mental health needs once it is back to school. Learn how to recognise signs of anxiety, stress, or depression. Some of the students may be grieving or feeling the stress of losing a loved one during this pandemic. Enrol in a Mental Health First Aid course to know how to respond to such situations.
- Implement First Aid Safety
We want to keep our children healthy and safe in or outside of school premises. While we can’t be with them 24/7, we can teach them how to deal with the most common injuries at school.
Cuts, scrapes, and bruises are on the top list of school injuries. The best way to treat small injuries is to clean the affected area and place a bandage on top. Next on the list are sprains and strains. These muscle-related injuries are often a result of improper stretching and overexertion of muscles and joints.
If an injury does occur, stop any activity, and apply first aid to avoid complications. It is the reason why teachers, school support staff, and other students are recommended to undergo first aid training.
Schools should be simulating, enriching, and safe places for students to learn. Luckily, there are ways to work together to help ensure your children make a safe return in back to school.
Spend time teaching them what to do if they suffer from an injury, preventing germs, and creating a first aid kit. Make learning fun and safe at the same time.