Coronavirus: How teachers can manage health and safety at schools now

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Consistently highlight the importance of hygiene.
Consistently highlight the importance of hygiene.

As the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus grows by the day, it is fast becoming harder and harder to follow President Cyril Ramaphosa's advice not to panic. 

Teachers may be especially worried given the most recent school closure in Gauteng following concerns that one educator may have been exposed. 

"At this stage, she remains asymptomatic and in good health. She will take guidance from the NICD [National Institute for Communicable Diseases] as to the protocol going forward," Grayston Preparatory School Head of school, Ché McKay said regarding the case

Consistently highlight the importance of hygiene

You may have already received specific instructions to follow regarding prevention at your school. 

One example comes from a reader who shared with Parent24 that the school where she teaches will be replacing hand towels with paper towels, and hand sanitizer will now replace bars of soap. 

She added that teachers have been asked to consistently highlight the importance of hygiene, especially concerning proper handwashing, and have strongly advised that any pupil with flu-like symptoms stay home. 

Another Cape Town school has asked parents who have plans to travel abroad during the upcoming school holidays to keep their children at home until they have been cleared to return to school by a doctor.

Official guidelines

 In addition to the instruction you have already received, here's a look at what the National Institute for Communicable Diseases has shared on prevention

  • Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
  • Practice frequent handwashing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
  • Travellers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing and wash hands).
  • Health practitioners should provide travellers with information to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections, via travel health clinics, travel agencies, conveyance operators and at points of entry. Travellers should self-report if they feel ill.

Handwashing tips for daycare teachers

US NPO, Healthychildren.org, has made the following tips available for daycare teachers on the key instances where handwashing is a must: 

  • When they arrive at the facility
  • Before and after handling food, feeding a child, or eating
  • After using the toilet, changing a diaper, or helping a child use the bathroom (Following a diaper change, the caregiver's and child's hands should be washed, and the diaper-changing surfaces should be disinfected.)
  • After helping a child wipe his nose or mouth or tending to a cut or sore
  • After playing in sandboxes
  • Before and after playing in water that is used by other children
  • Before and after staff members give medicine to a child
  • After handling wastebaskets or garbage
  • After handling a pet or other animal

For more information on hygiene and other resources follow these Parent24 links: 

What instruction have you received from your school regarding prevention? 

Compiled for Parent24 by Lesley-Anne Johannes. 

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