Entering any new school year can be challenging for any family as routines change, and activities ramp up. This year, with the presence of COVID-19, many families are struggling to navigate the ever-changing environment around them. Though many things are uncertain, it’s all the more important to prepare for the school year by being proactive about your health. At CHP, keeping you and your family healthy during this time is our number one goal, so let us partner with you and be your expert guide. Below are some important ways you can prepare yourself and your family for the new school year.
Before each school year, it’s a good idea for children to visit their pediatrician and assess their overall health before returning to school, regardless of age. Parents and teachers can benefit from these as well! A wellness check is an excellent place to start, and a lack of insurance or ability to pay doesn’t have to be a barrier. Our CHP clinics in Belgrade, Bozeman, Livingston, and West Yellowstone afford the community 100% access to care, regardless of their ability to pay and without judgment. Now is also the time to start planning for upcoming sports. All of our clinics are open for sports physicals, which most schools require before starting a new competitive season.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, CHP is taking every safety measure to protect our patients and staff and securely meet our community’s needs. In addition to in-person appointments, we are excited to be offering both telephone and video visits with medical and behavioral health providers for patients who may not wish to come into the clinic.
During your child’s check-up is a great time to get up-to-date on any immunizations or booster shots. The state of Montana requires several at various points in a child’s life in order to attend school. Flu vaccinations are also recommended for both children and adults. Vaccinations are important for maintaining a strong, healthy immune system and avoiding the spread of sickness to others, especially in a school environment.
In addition, talk to your doctor about refilling emergency inhalers, insulin, and any other medications your child might need during an emergency at school.
Whatever your child’s school situation is for fall 2020, it’s likely to look different from what they’re used to, and feel different as well. This applies to parents and teachers too. It’s important to be sensitive to that and prepare by setting expectations. For parents, ask your children how they’re feeling going into the new school year. Explain their schedule, how classes will work, and the latest safety precautions that can be expected.
Starting a new school year can be stressful enough — changes due to COVID-19 can understandably cause additional anxiety for families. Know that CHP is available as a resource for behavioral health services to both children and adults, providing counselors and psychiatric specialists when you need them.
In addition to other useful back-to-school tips, the CDC suggests “developing daily routines before and after school. One easy way to do this is to pack things for school in the morning (like hand sanitizer and an additional (back up) cloth face covering) that help manage safety needs while they are there. You can also do things when you return home (like washing hands immediately and washing worn cloth face coverings).”
In addition to helping you engrain safety habits such as washing hands, routines can also be good for behavioral health. Whether working or schooling from home or going in-person to an office or school, routines can help reduce anxiety and encourage a sense of control.
We’re here to help you navigate a healthy approach to the new school year. Contact us to learn more or set up an appointment at your local clinic.