Parents around the world are facing a massive dilemma as Fall edges closer...
...do you send your child (or children) to school or continue to keep them home (assuming you have an online learning option available)?
Each household and family has different considerations so there's no clear cut answer to this one.
Whichever decision you make for your family, no judgement here.
This is a tough decision.
We've made the difficult decision of sending our child to school.
This could change as the entire situation in our locality changes.
What I did want to share with you today is our process for "decontamination" and risk management for trying to keep everyone in our household safe.
Having lived/worked in Asia for over two decades, I've seen how mask wearing makes such a huge difference.
I was living in Hong Kong during the entire SARS epidemic.
Masks make sense and make a difference (I'm not going to argue with anyone about this). (This excludes those who physically/medically cannot wear masks over long periods of time.)
So, I have purchased re-usable face masks for my child to wear at school.
The important part of the day is when your child returns home from school.
That's when you risk bringing in viruses, contaminants into your household.
So, when we pick up our child, we're planning on the following steps:
Wash Hands with Sanitizer
Whether we're taking them by the hand to walk home or before they enter the car, we want to ensure the child's hands are sanitized.
Viruses can linger in the throat and our Chinese Medical practitioner also mentioned this to us pre-pandemic that lots of pollutants are caught in the throat area, it's good to drink some plain old water to wash down any lingering pollutants.
Have a portable water bottle available to give your child to drink some water and wash down any pollutants.
During SARS, one of the ways to stop the spread was to sanitize shoes or footwear. Of course, in Asia, it's common NOT to wear shoes indoors, so this helped in stopping the spread via that way.
But in Western society, many people still wear shoes & footwear indoors.
This is one of the ways people will contaminate your household, so the need to leave footwear outside or in a common area near the door AND decontaminating footwear after being worn (we either spray the sole of the shoe with alcohol sanitizer or dip it into a bleach+water solution).
Wash Hands with Soap and Water
So, in between the time you pick up your child to when you arrive at home, we've gotten into the habit of always washing our hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Wash the Nostrils & Sinuses
As mentioned above, pollutants can linger in the throat as well as your nose.
We've purchased a nose washer (or neti pot) to help our child rinse away pollutants in the nose upon returning from school.
The additional benefit is it helps clear mucus when your child is sick with a cold.
As mentioned in the article above, air circulation indoors is also critical to reducing the concentration of any virus.
During warmer seasons, you can keep windows open but during cold seasons, that's not really feasible so having an air purifier can help in reducing the concentration of bad particles in your indoor air.
None of these will result in 100% protection, but by implementing all of these processes, we hope to protect our household as much as possible.