Published on August 21, 2020

Essentia Health’s back-to-school toolkit focuses on safety amid COVID-19

With schools preparing to reopen across the region, families are deciding how their children will attend — in person, via distance learning or some combination of the two. Safety concerns stemming from COVID-19 ensure that the start of this school year will look vastly different than most.

Essentia Health is excited to offer a back-to-school digital toolkit aimed at keeping students and educators safe on campus. The toolkit contains resources for things like how to properly wear and clean a face mask; recommendations for effective social distancing inside and out of the classroom; additional safety precautions; and answers to frequently asked questions.

Resources for educators and administrators include comprehensive school-planning guides from state departments of health, printable classroom posters and graphics, and more information about Essentia’s COVID-19 community response team.

“We all realize that sending our children to school during a pandemic is a scary thought,” said Dr. Jonathan KenKnight, a pediatrician at Essentia. “That’s why we have developed this toolkit — with input from our pediatricians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, child life specialists, the CDC and state departments of health — to bring you guidance and tips to help navigate this unprecedented situation we find ourselves in preparing for the next academic year.

“We hope you find this resource helpful as you move forward to making a decision. Whether you choose to send your child to school or participate in distance learning, or some sort of in-between, we are here with you and support your decision as parents and caregivers.”

Also on the toolkit, you will find a video featuring:

  • Students, pre-K through high school seniors, discussing their thoughts on returning to school and what they will do to stay safe;
  • Essentia child life specialists Jessica Hotchkiss and Michelle Finneman demonstrating mask-wearing tips and tricks for youngsters;
  • And Dr. KenKnight talking about the challenges that surround this decision-making process for many parents.

To coordinate interviews, photos, and/or video, contact the media relations team.