COVID 19 INFORMATION
DEAR PARENT(S), CARER(S), GUARDIAN(S) AND COMMUNITY MEMBER(S)
Key Messages and Actions
COVID-19 is a new virus and we are still learning about how it affects children. We know it is possible
for people of any age to be infected with the virus, but so far there have been relatively few cases of
COVID-19 reported among children. The virus can be fatal in cases, so far mainly among older people
with pre-existing medical conditions.
Know the latest facts
Understand basic information about coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including its symptoms, complications, how it is transmitted and how to prevent transmission. Stay informed about COVID-19 through reputable sources such as UNICEF and WHO and national health ministry advisories. Be aware of fake information / myths that may circulate by word-of-mouth or online. Recognise the symptoms of COVID-19 (coughing, fever, shortness of breath) in your child. Seek medical advice by first calling your health facility / provider and then take your child[ren] in, if advised.
Remember that symptoms of COVID-19 such as cough or fever can be similar to those of the flu, or
the common cold, which are a lot more common. If your child is sick, keep them home from school
and notify the school of your child’s absence and symptoms. Request reading and assignments so that students can continue learning while at home. Explain to your child what is happening in simple
words and reassure them that they are safe.
If your child is not displaying any symptoms such as a fever or cough it is best to keep them in school
unless a public health advisory or other relevant warning or official advice has been issued affecting
your child[ren’s] school. Instead of keeping children out of school, teach them good hand and respiratory hygiene practices for school and elsewhere, like frequent handwashing (see below), covering a cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or tissue, then throwing away the tissue into a closed bin, and not touching their eyes, mouth or nose if they haven’t properly washed their hands.
WASHING HANDS PROPERLY
Step 1: Wet hands with safe running water.
Step 2: Apply enough soap to cover wet hands.
Step 3: Scrub all surfaces of the hands – including backs of hands, between fingers and under nails – for at least 20 seconds.
Step 4: Rinse thoroughly with running water.
Step 5: Dry hands with a clean, dry cloth, single-use towel or hand drier as available. Wash your hands often, especially before and after eating; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom / toilets / latrines and whenever your hands are visibly dirty. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
HELP CHILDREN COPE WITH THE STRESS
Children may respond to stress in different ways. Common responses include having difficulties sleeping, bedwetting, having pain in the stomach or head, and being anxious, withdrawn, angry, clingy, or afraid to be left alone. Respond to children’s reactions in a supportive way and explain to them that they are normal reactions to an unusual situation. Listen to their concerns and take time to comfort them and give them affection, reassure them they are safe and praise them frequently.
If possible, create opportunities for children to play and relax.
Keep regular routines and schedules as much as possible, especially before they go to sleep, or help create new ones in a new environment. Provide age-appropriate facts about what has happened, explain what is going on and give them clear examples on what they can do to help protect themselves and others from infection. Share information about what could happen in a reassuring way. For example, if your child is feeling sick and staying at home or the hospital, you could say, “You have to stay at home / at the hospital because it is safer for you and your friends. I know it is hard (maybe scary or even boring) at times, but we need to follow the rules to keep ourselves and others safe. Things will go back to normal when the time is right.”
CHECKLIST FOR CARER(S), GUARDIAN(S) AND COMMUNITY MEMBER(S)
- Monitor your child[ren’s] health and keep them home from school if they are ill.
- Teach and model good hygiene practices for your child[ren].
- Wash your hands with soap and safe water frequently. If soap and water are not
readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty
- Ensure that safe drinking water is available, and toilets or latrines are clean and available at home
- Ensure waste is safely collected, stored, and disposed of.
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow and avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth, nose.
- Encourage your children to ask questions and express their feelings with you and their teachers. Remember that your child may have different reactions to stress; be patient and understanding.
- Prevent stigma by using facts and reminding students to be considerate of one another.
- Coordinate with the school to receive information and ask how you can support school safety efforts (through parent-teacher committees, etc.)
STUDENTS AND CHILDREN
CHECKLIST FOR STUDENTS AND CHILDREN
- In a situation like this it is normal to feel sad, worried, confused, scared or angry. Know that you are not alone and talk to someone you trust, like your parent or teacher so that you can help keep yourself and your school safe and healthy.
- Ask questions, educate yourself and get information from reliable sources.
- Protect yourself and others
- Wash your hands frequently, always with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Remember to not touch your face
- Do not share cups, eating utensils, food, or drinks with others
- Be a leader in keeping yourself, your school, family, and community healthy.
- Share what you learn about preventing disease with your family and friends, especially with younger children
- Model good practices such as sneezing or coughing into your elbow and washing your hands, especially for younger family members
- Do not stigmatise your peers or tease anyone about being sick; remember that the virus does not follow geographical boundaries, ethnicities, age or ability or gender.
- Tell your parents, another family member, or a carer if you feel sick, and ask to
NSPCC – firstname.lastname@example.org
Unicef – https://www.unicef.org.uk
World health Organisation – https://www.who.int