Student getting in car with backpack

Back to School and COVID-19

Posted on Monday, August 31, 2020 by UVM Health Network - CVMC

We've been hearing from a lot of parents trying to navigate back to school concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help address these issues, we held a live Q&A on Facebook with CVMC Pediatrics Medical Director Dr. Anna Hankins and Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Jessie Leyse.

Check out the highlights from our discussion below.

Click the video image to view the full Q&A.

Panelists from CVMC:

Back to School: Health and Safety Tips to Know Before They Go


  • Make sure your child has a mask that fits over the nose and is held on snugly over the face, either by ear loops or by ties.
  • Some kids may enjoy making and customizing their own masks so they fit just right.
  • Before school starts, encourage your child to practice wearing a mask at home.
  • View our Kids & Masks video series where we address masking challenges, cleaning masks, and how to wear them the right way.

Hygiene & Distancing

  • Encourage your child to wash their hands often with hot, soapy water.
  • Remind your child to avoid touching their nose, mouth, and eyes.
  • Stay six feet apart from other people as much as possible.
  • If children can stay outside with others, that's ideal.

Grandparents as Caregivers

  • Children may continue to have a close relationship with their grandparents, but stay six feet apart as much as possible, especially while we're watching to see if case numbers start to rise this fall.
  • In the meantime, encourage children to share "air hugs" and "air high fives" with older family members.

The Importance of Good Routines

  • Whether learning in-person or remotely, all children will benefit from having a regular sleep and activity schedule.
  • Strive to provide your children with a clearly defined bedtime that doesn't vary too much between weeknights and weekend nights.
  • Shifting bedtime earlier by one hour may take a week or so. For example, if bedtime drifted to 10 pm during the summer, first shift it to 9 pm for a week, then shift it to 8 pm.
  • To ensure kids are tired at bedtime, it may help to wake them up in the morning rather than letting them sleep in.
  • Closely supervise and set specific limits on screen time and device usage.

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