Back to work and school. How to protect your home and family from COVID-19 in this age of the new normal.
This week marks back to school for many local youngsters. And while most of us seemed to resume some degree of normalcy throughout the summer, the spectre of COVID-19 still continued to influence our social behaviours.
Many of us are now wearing masks when we enter into public spaces. We dutifully bring our grocery lists so we don’t spend too much time browsing the store aisles. We are now always washing our hands and sanitizing – everywhere we go, and seemingly constantly.
And there’s no end in sight. COVID-19 will continue to be part of our everyday consciousness. With our kids going back to school and workplaces allowing more and more employees back into the office, chances are we’ll continue to be on high alert for the days, weeks, and months to come.
While we may provide home insurance to help protect your home, the presence of COVID-19 and protecting your household will be up to you, with the support and cooperation of the rest of the community.
To keep your home and family safe and healthy over the next many months, it’s critical to continue to follow the recommendations of our public health authorities, experts, and officials.
The following checklist will help you do your part to help reduce exposure and slow the spread of illness as the pandemic persists:
- Keep up-to-date with factual information from local health authorities and experts.
- Keep up with school closures in the community – rely on local news sources that report on school alerts.
- If you get sick, stay home from school, work, and any other activities where you would be at risk of exposing others.
- If you learn about others who are ill, steer clear! Help where and how you can, but don’t risk exposure.
- Continue with physical distancing measures as best you can when out and about – stay at least two metres apart.
- Practice prevention:
- Frequent handwashing with water and soap for the length of time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’. When soap and water are unavailable, keep hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) nearby – in your purse and in your car, for instance.
- Always cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze – the inside of your elbow provides good protection. Dispose of any tissue you may use immediately and don’t use it again.
- Wipe and sanitize items such as mobile phones, television remotes, laptops, and other electronics – as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Keep high touch zones and items as well as high traffic areas clean and disinfected using household cleaner and water. Your typical EPA-registered household disinfectants are just fine. Utilize disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface.
- If a member of your household gets sick, isolate them as best you can, including a separate room as well as a separate bathroom, if you can.
- Provide ill family or household member with clean and disposable masks to wear at home
- Do not share personal items – drinking glasses, silverware, food, or drink.
- Keep the room and bathroom used by sick household member clean, sanitized, and disinfected.
- Keep in touch with friends and family to check in on their health and well-being – phone, text, email, video-conference.
- Keep lines of communication open with family members and your children – talk about the pandemic. Offer calm reassurance that they are safe and what they can do to help contain the spread.
- If you find yourself or a family member is sick, notify school and workplace immediately. Request to work and school from home if you are able.
- If a child has to be home from school, keep communication open with school administration and teachers to ensure your child doesn’t fall behind in schoolwork.
- Teenagers and young adults may find it particularly difficult to maintain recommended protocols.
- Keep communication open with your older children and discourage kids’ gathering after school hours.
- Let them choose a mask they like and stress the importance of wearing it when they’re outside the home.
- Make it clear how their behaviour could potentially impact the spread of COVID-19 in your community as well as your household.