How to help kids wear masks and stay healthy in school

A new state order will require children K-12 to wear a mask if they are back in the classroom
Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 12:09 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Governor Mike DeWine announced Tuesday that the Ohio Department of Health will issue an order requiring children K-12 to wear face coverings while at school.

There are exceptions, including children under the age of two. But this leaves teachers and caregivers with the responsibility of reminding young kids to keep their masks on and stay healthy outside the home.

“We’re doing it to frankly give our children and our teachers the best chance to succeed,” said DeWine.

Alongside FEMA, the state is also working to distribute two million masks to schools for use by students and staff.

Caregivers of younger children are also doing their best to remind kids about good handwashing, hygiene, and being respectful of social distancing.

Sylvania Children’s Center currently cares for 45 children under the age of six, with more parents of older school-aged kids hoping for a spot.

The daycare was one of the facilities operating during the shutdown to care for children of essential workers. Aalaa Eldieb, the center’s director, says they will continue to keep their child-staff ratio small as a precaution.

“If we were to have school-agers we would definitely abide by having school-agers wear their masks,” adds Eldieb. “Our staff are doing a great job with keeping social distance individualizing supplies and materials, sensory tables”

One of the teachers at the center, Arely Cardenas, says kids are still handling the rules very well, even reminding her and other students when it’s time to wash their hands and keep personal space.

“They just love being independent so having a fun game where they can get the soap themselves, they can wash their hands themselves, they really love having that independency,” says Cardenas.

Pediatric therapist Jannell Brown at The Willow Center says having a routine and making mask-wearing fun will definitely come in handy at home and in the classroom for older kids when K-12th graders return to in-person learning.

“The brain develops and matures from the back to the front, so the prefrontal cortex, that’s the impulse control,” says Brown, “What we really need to do is just kind of redirect constantly if kiddos are forgetting about that stuff.”

In addition, an appropriate conversation surrounding masks and healthy habits can go a long way.

“As long as you are, as a teacher or parent, consistent about reminding them and redirecting them to wear their mask, they are really good at it.”

Copyright 2020 WTVG. All rights reserved.

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