Tips for Going Back to School during the Pandemic

Helping a student adjust their mask
Image of Asian mother help her daughter wearing medical mask to prepare go to school. Avoiding Covid-19 or coronavirus outbreak.

Many schools are re-opening for in-person instruction after being closed for nearly a year. Heading back to school can be both exciting and nerve-racking. And whether your child has already returned or is still adjusting to new schedules, our experts have you covered with helpful tips for being back in the classroom.


Since many students have been out of school for almost a year, it’s important to restart good habits around routines like eating and sleeping. Children should start going to bed early and waking up each morning at an appropriate time. Remember, it’s always good to get eight hours of sleep and breakfast is the important meal of the day.


Students should wear masks/face coverings on the bus and at school. If you wear a mask, your children will follow your lead. Face coverings must cover their mouth and nose fully.  Kids should also practice wearing masks for long periods of time. It will make it that much easier when they return to the classroom.


If your child is sick, or if someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, they should stay home. Symptoms of COVID-19 can include cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fever of 100 degrees or higher, chills and loss of taste or smell. If you have questions, contact your child’s physician or the school’s health office.


Children want to share; it’s in their nature. Normally, we applaud their kindness. But for now, students should refrain from sharing food or school supplies. They also must keep their physical distance from classmates. Turn a conversation about social distance into a fun exercise. For example, show your child how many toys it takes to get to six feet. Finally, remind them to frequently wash their hands with soap and water during the school day.

These important steps will keep everyone safe and healthy. Children are our future. Let’s help them lead the way.


Lauren Fitzpatrick, MD, is the medical director of Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center’s Pediatric Emergency Department.

Kristen Breslin, MD, MPH, is the medical director of Children’s National Emergency Department at Doctors Community Hospital.