Whether your teen is an incoming college freshman or starting another year on campus, preparing your teen for going back to school looks a little different this year. Here are some ways to help get them ready for this transition, especially during a pandemic:
Transition Teens From Pediatric to Primary Care
Now is the perfect time to transition your child to a primary care physician as they’re starting to age out of pediatric care. Need to find a new doctor near you? Visit https://fmolhs.org/find-a-doctor/.
Schedule Their COVID-19 Vaccination
The best thing parents can do to protect their child from COVID-19 is to have them vaccinated and to be vaccinated yourself. We know these vaccines are safe and are making a difference. Getting vaccinated is particularly important for families with siblings younger than 12 who are not yet able to receive the vaccine. For COVID-19 vaccine FAQs or to schedule an appointment, visit: https://fmolhs.org/coronavirus/in-it-to-end-it-covid-19-vaccine.
Pack Their COVID-19 Vaccination Card
It’s best to make copies of your teen’s COVID-19 vaccination card and send them off with one that’s laminated. Remind them to keep theirs packed away and in a safe place. For those whose children are attending school in Louisiana, have them download the “LA Wallet” app as a way to save and easily access their vaccination record on their phones.
Make Sure Their Physical and Other Vaccinations Are Up to Date
Many colleges and universities require a pre-entrance physical exam and/or an up-to-date immunization form. Even if their school doesn’t, it’s a good idea to have this done for a healthy start to the new school year.
Remind Them of Ways to Stay Safe From COVID-19
The CDC recommends masking in places with high levels of transmission. Encourage your child to adhere to their institution’s safety measures, especially if that includes masking. Make sure your teen has plenty of close-fitting masks on hand to use in areas on and off campus and that they know how to wash them.
Though it may be hard to social distance while in dorms or participating in popular college activities, remind your child that keeping their distance from others whenever possible will help them avoid contracting COVID-19.
Practice Good Hand Hygiene
Add hand sanitizer to your teen’s packing list. Remind them to keep washing their hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoid touching their mouth, nose and eyes.
Maximize Time Outdoors
Getting some fresh air provides many health benefits, especially when gathering with others during a pandemic. Encourage teens to consider meeting outdoors for group study breaks, meals and celebrations. Remind them to avoid long periods in large crowds or congregating with too many people outside at once.
Regularly Clean and Disinfect Dorm Rooms
Be sure your child has plenty of cleaning supplies packed to disinfect their dorms. Remind them to make a habit of disinfecting phones, doorknobs, faucet handles, light switches and surfaces used to study and eat, especially before and after having visitors.