HONOLULU (KHON2) – The new 2020-2021 school year is starting at a time when COVID-19 cases in Hawaii are increasing, not decreasing. 

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It’s a scary time for parents. 

Pediatrician Bryan Mih, who is also an Associate Clinical Professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine says parents should properly prepare their children before they enter the classroom. 

“Kids are good at following rules that make sense,” he explained. “Explain why it’s important to keep the germs to ourselves and not spread them. They understand that.” 

Besides following new safety rules specified for each school, Mih suggests getting your children prepared to wear a face mask for the entirety of their school day. 

“Practice at home,” he said. “Wearing a mask keeps you and other people safe. Masks are a small inconvenience, but it allows us to keep schools open. Without the mask, the rates of transmission are a lot higher.” 

Parents should explain to their children that it’s okay to speak with their teacher if they see a classmate failing to follow safety rules, said Mih. 

“Make sure they’re not breathing or coughing on other people, too. We don’t want to share germs, we want to share aloha,” he said. 

When your child comes home from school, Mih encourages parents to enact the following to keep the home free from germs:

  1. Leave shoes at the door. 
  2. Wash hands immediately. 
  3. Bathe/shower immediately. 

“Wash up; throw those clothes in a separate hamper,” he said. “Wash those separately. You can think about each step of the way. Where are the germs, and where are they transmitted? The most important thing is not touching your hands that haven’t been cleaned. You end up touching your face, your eyes, your nose. These are areas the virus can enter.” 

“I know these times may be scary for parents. Your anxiety may pass on to them, too. Take the time every day to talk to them, listen to them, ask how things are going at school. It’s ok to ask questions, give them that space to talk to you as well,” said Mih. 

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