Back to School: Are You and Your Kids Prepared?

by Nicole Viau, Health Promotion & Communication Specialist, City of Nashua Division of Public Health & Community Services

As schools around the state, and the nation, transition back into the 2020-2021 school year, it is important to make sure your child and family is prepared. Although schools are taking different approaches to how and when they transition children back into the classroom, we still want our families to be prepared in case their child is going back into school this year. As you adjust to new schedules, we encourage you to take a few quick steps to keep your child safer during the possible event of an emergency or disaster during the school year.

Emergencies and disasters can occur with little or no warning - even during the school day. As children head back to school, talk to your child about preparedness to help protect their health and safety. The CDC states that preparing you and your children is as easy as ABC.

  • A: Ask your child’s school how you would be reunited with them in an emergency or evacuation. If your child has to evacuate during the school day, where should you go to pick them up? How would the school notify you in the event of emergency? Make sure you provide your child’s school with the most recent, updated contact information. Changes to your office, name, address, or phone number should be reported to the school to ensure that they have the most accurate information to reach you during an emergency. This is typically done annually, but make sure to notify them if you have any changes throughout the year.
  • B: Bring extra medication, special foods, or supplies your child would need if you were separated overnight. Does the school have an emergency stockpile of these items, or could you bring extras to be kept at school? What is your child’s school policy for how and when medicine can be administered? This is a great conversation to start with your child’s school nurse.
  • C: Complete a backpack contact information card and tuck one in your child’s backpack and your wallet. Include important personal information about your child, like their name, school, contact information, date of birth, and any medical conditions, such as allergies. On the backside of the card, include contact information for yourself and an additional emergency contact. Make sure your child or their school knows how to reach you and who should be called if your phone isn’t working. Children should have their emergency contacts written down in a secure place and, if they’re able to, memorized. Download and complete this emergency card with your child.

Follow these ABCs so that your children can be kept safe and families can be reunited as soon as possible in case of a disaster or emergency. For more information, visit the CDC at https://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2015/08/back-to-school-be-prepared/. We hope everyone has a great school year!

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