The schooling community comprising of students, teachers, staff, parents, and administration is looking at how they can slow the spread of COVID 19 within the schooling environment. Schools are determining how they can collaborate with state and local health officials to implement CDCs considerations to maintain healthy learning environments.
To help students and communities to overcome the crisis, technology enterprises are developing solutions to step up the detection and control of COVID 19.
What is COVID 19?
COVID 19 is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV 2). The disease was first identified in Wuhan, China, and continues to spread around the world, as an ongoing pandemic.
What are the symptoms of COVID 19?
People who’ve come down with COVID 19 have shown a wide range of symptoms – ranging from mild to severe symptoms. The symptoms typically appear after 2-14 days post-exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms are highly likely to have COVID 19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
While this list does not include all possible symptoms, these are the most common ones. CDC keeps updating its list as they learn more about COVID 19.
When to seek emergency medical attention?
You need to look for emergency warning signs of COVID 19. Seek emergency care if you have:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
How does COVID 19 spread?
Learnings about how the coronavirus spreads and its severity are still underway. From what’s known, it is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person. In some cases, people without any symptoms too can spread the virus.
The virus spreads from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with each other.
It spreads through the respiratory droplets of an infected person when they cough, sneeze, or talk. When these droplets land in the mouths or noses of people, they’re inhaled into the lungs infecting the person.
Another possibility in how the virus spreads is when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touches their nose, mouth, or eyes. This, however, is not thought of as the main way in which the virus spreads.
How to slow down or prevent the spread?
Public health measures like everyday preventive actions are integral to slow down and prevent the spread. They include:
- Staying home when sick
- Following social distancing of maintaining a 2-meter distance between people when out
- Covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing/using masks
- Washing hands with soap and water/using sanitizers to clean hands
- Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects
How to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in schools
It is important to take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID 19 in schools. And at the same time, schools must ensure that students and staff who’ve been exposed to the virus are not stigmatized.
The COVID 19 crisis is an opportunity to help children learn, cultivate compassion, and increase resilience while building a safer and more caring community. Sharing the right information about COVID 19 in an age-appropriate manner with children can help alleviate their fears, enabling them to cope with the impact it has on their lives.
What school administrators, teachers, and staff can do
- Disallow sick students, teachers and other staff from coming to school
- Enforce regular handwashing with soap and water, rub hands with hand sanitizers, or chlorine solutions. Daily disinfection of school surfaces
- Provide water, sanitation and waste management facilities
- Promote social distancing
- Keep updated with latest COVID 19 facts and share only the right information within networks
- Ensure safe school operations like developing school emergency and contingency plans, reinforcing frequent handwashing and sanitation, cleaning and disinfecting school buildings
- Establish processes to address situations where students or staff become unwell and ensure they’re shared with students and parents so they’re not caught off-guard when a situation arises.
- Follow guidelines from the national health and educational authorities.
- Change school policies where appropriate
- Track school attendance with absenteeism monitoring systems
- Plan for continued access to uninterrupted learning.
- Integrate disease prevention and control in daily lives and lessons. Put in place targeted health education.
- Allow children to discuss their questions and concerns. Address their need for mental and psychological support and explain that it is normal to experience different reactions.
- Ensure continuity of critical services for children with special needs, children with disabilities, children in marginalized
What parents, caregivers and community members can do:
- Understand the basic information about COVID 19. Stay informed about COVID 19 updates through sources like the CDC and WHO. Be aware of fake information that may get circulated.
- Identify the symptoms of COVID 19 that can affect your child. If the child is sick, keep them home from school.
- Keep healthy children in school unless there’s a public health advisory or relevant warning against it.
- Encourage a healthy hygiene routine.
- Identify signs of stress in your child. Common signs are difficulty in sleeping, bedwetting, stomach pains, anxiety, withdrawal, anger, clinginess, or fear of being alone. Listen to their questions, respond to them in a supportive manner, comfort them, and keep them reassured.
What students can do:
Children must understand basic age-appropriate information about COVID 19, including symptoms, complications, how it spreads, and how to prevent transmission. They must consume information from reputed sources like CDC, WHO, and national health advisories.
Disease surveillance systems and COVID 19 checking
Disease surveillance systems help collect, analyze, interpret data, and disseminate data to those responsible for preventing and controlling diseases. Disease surveillance systems in schools estimate the health status and behaviors of students. Because surveillance helps to directly understand what’s going on within a population, it helps in tracking and measuring the need for intervention.
EduHealth is a school health management system that helps school nurses track symptoms of illnesses within the schooling community and document them systematically. The system is also a health tracker that facilitates the systematic tracking and surveillance of diseases within schools, helping school nurses collect, analyze, and share the right information with health authorities. This can help to identify the possibilities of an infection spreading within the schooling community, take the necessary next steps and can help contain its spread.
There are several ways parents can contribute to keeping schools healthy. Parents can proactively communicate with school nurses about infections in their communities and also if their child is showing symptoms. By leveraging the EduHealth Parent App, parents can communicate the symptoms with school nurses enabling them to record that information in the students’ health record and also notify authorized personnel about the absence and ascertain possibilities of whether the student would have infected someone else during his/her presence in the school. This serves as an important way to identify and help contain the spread of an illness within schools.
Using disease surveillance systems, health authorities can collect health-related data, analyze them, and take the necessary next steps to keep the community safe. And EduHealth is a tool that enables that. It can help collect students’, teachers’ and administrators’ health data keep our schooling community and students safe and healthy for better tomorrow.
To know how EduHealth can help your school, get in touch with us.