Things parents should know sending kids back to school

Children, especially younger children, seem to always have a sniffle or runny nose. However, in today’s climate, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

By: Breonna Randall, Howard University News Service

For the first time since March 2020, millions of students, pre-kindergarten to high school seniors, will be attending in-person classes. Aside from attending class, they will be also participating in extracurricular activities, like sports, music and clubs. Parents have many concerns and questions. Howard University News Service reached out to five physicians for answers, Dr. Hadie Shariat, pediatrician, Howard University Hospital; Dr. Katherine Hager, Infectious Disease Fellow, Howard University Hospital; Dr. Catherine Marshall, pediatrician at Balboa Pediatrics; Dr. Andrea Goings, pediatrician, Baby Doc House Calls, and Dr. Stacey Eadie, pediatrician at her own private practice, Peds in a Pod.

Should I get my child vaccinated? 

The unanimous opinion among our doctors was if your child can get vaccinated, they should. The only thing that has proven to be effective so far in fighting COVID-19 is the vaccine, they said. While a tiny fraction of people has died from the vaccine, more than 600,000 have died from the disease. Children under the age of 12 cannot be vaccinated, though pharmaceutical companies are working on a vaccine for them.

What if my child is too young for the vaccine?

In this case, the doctors advise, your child should stay away from unvaccinated adults, stay away from crowded indoor places, always wear a mask and keep practicing social distancing and good hygiene. Also always remember to keep up with your local safety guidelines. Guidelines and prevalence of coronavirus are different in different cities and states. Residents may need to be more careful in some locales.

What kind of mask should my child wear and how many do they need?

The readily available blue and white surgical masks are the best option for students of all ages. They will protect your child if they are wearing them properly. The mask should cover their nose and their mouth. If the mask falls to the ground or gets wet either by sneezing into it or from water, they should be discarded, and a new mask put in place. Younger children should carry about a half a dozen surgical masks with them a day.

Students in grades 9-12 should not need to change theirs as often. They may only need to have about three. For older children doubling up by wearing a surgical mask and a cloth mask on top throughout their school day is the best option.

If your child is most comfortable wearing only a cloth mask, that is fine, but remember it needs to be cleaned daily, never wait more than a day to clean or rotate your child’s cloth mask. N-95 masks are said to be the best option, but only if they have been fit tested by a doctor to a child’s face. Children with disabilities who are not able to wear a mask all day should wear a shield.

What should be on my back-to-school shopping list?

You should buy everything that you would already get but more. Make sure your child has more than enough supplies, so they won’t need to ask their classmates to share. Young children like to chew on their pens and sharing those supplies could increase the spread of germs. Aside from masks, you may want to add new items like hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.

What are some school habits my child needs to break and new ones they should include?

The number one habit that children of all ages need to break is sharing. They should not share toys, school supplies, food, drinks or anything else. It won’t be easy to get young children to unlearn “sharing is caring,” but it is very important that they try their best.

Other habits that students need to break is any unnecessary touching. Hugging or kissing other students is a no-no. Students have been away from their friends for a very long time, and they may want to show physical affection towards each other when they reunite but it is very important that they don’t as much as possible.

They should also use disinfectant wipes to clean their desks between classes and the handles and locks to their lockers. Finally, most schools do not have automatic sinks or dryers. So, students should consider using paper towels to turn handles off and on and opening doors after washing their hands for at least 20 seconds.

Are there warning signs that my child may have been exposed to the coronavirus?

Children, especially younger children, seem to always have a sniffle or runny nose. However, in today’s climate, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Every day after you child comes home, spend two minutes with your child and let them tell you about their day without asking any specific questions. In that time, they may tell you if they shared toys or snacks with anyone that they shouldn’t have. If your child is having a cough or runny nose, yes it could be allergies or a common cold, but do not risk the safety of your family and others. Keep your children home and quarantine them until they can take a Covid-19 test at a medical facility, not an at home rapid test. A two-year old may get sick and have just a runny nose or sore throat from the disease, but if they infect their grandmother, for example, she could end up in the hospital on a ventilator.

Are extracurricular activities okay for my child to participate in?

There is nothing wrong with your child returning to their extracurricular activities, just as long as these activities are supervised and are following all Center for Disease Control and Prevention and local health guidelines.

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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