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Doctors and educators answer parents' questions about returning to school

They said now is the time to start preparing children for the transition to what will be a different kind of school year.

SEATTLE — Parents across Washington state are getting ready to send their kids back to what will be a very different school year amid the ongoing pandemic.

Doctors and state education leaders gathered to answer parents’ questions during a virtual meeting, Thursday.

They said now is the time to start preparing children for the transition.

“Making sure that they're actually getting to bed at a good time, getting a full night’s sleep, getting up at a good time, eating, drinking, etc., appropriately, don't wait until day one or the day before school to start that, do that now,” said Dr. John Dunn, a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente.

Parents asked when there will be a COVID-19 vaccine for kids.

“We're going to have a lot of information coming out during this fall and the winter about how effective vaccines look in younger kids, how well they tolerate them,” Dunn said.

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“It will be a little while before we have answers to that, it may well be most of the fall,” he said.

What if there's an outbreak in a school?

“Be prepared for some infections. That's really tough and we don't want to overstate that, but people are going to get sick and there's going to be times we are going to quarantine,” said Chris Reykdal, State Superintendent.

“Maybe it's a whole classroom, maybe it's a whole building that needs to close down, obviously we're trying to avoid that with all of these mitigation strategies,” he said.

Lunchtime will also be an adjustment for many students, Reykdal said.

“There will be physical space, but it won't necessarily be 6 feet in order to accommodate all of the families, a lot of districts will move kids outdoors or cycle them through so they can create that maximum physical distancing,” he said.

Educators suggest visiting your school before the first day of class, just to walk around and get a better sense of the layout.

Many districts are doing open houses where families can walk the halls and ask questions about that specific school's COVID-19 precautions.

To watch the full virtual meeting click here