Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tips for Teachers and Childcare Providers

Everyone has questions about coronavirus (COVID-19). You probably have many of your own. You might have students or their parents asking you what to do. Here are answers to some common questions about coronavirus.

What Is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronaviruses are common causes of colds and respiratory tract infections. At the end of 2019, a new type of coronavirus began making people sick in China. The illness it causes is called COVID-19. Some of the first cases were diagnosed in people who had visited a market selling live seafood and animals. It has now spread to many countries all over the world.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) causes a fever, cough, and trouble breathing. Symptoms are a bit like those people have with a cold or the flu. The virus can be more serious in some people, especially if they are sick or have health problems.

How Does Coronavirus (COVID-19) Spread?

People can catch coronavirus from others who have the virus. Most often, this happens when an infected person sneezes or coughs, sending tiny droplets into the air. These can land in the nose, mouth, or eyes of someone nearby, or be breathed in. Less often, people can get infected if they touch an infected droplet on a surface and then touch their own nose, mouth, or eyes.

Is Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dangerous to Children?

There seem to be far fewer cases of the virus reported in children. Most kids with the infection caught it from someone they lived with or a family member. The virus seems to cause a milder infection in children than in adults or older people.

How Is Coronavirus (COVID-19) Treated?

Most people with COVID-19, including children, do not have serious problems. After seeing a doctor, most get better with rest and fluids. People who are very ill get care in a hospital with breathing help, IV fluids, and other treatments.

Currently, there’s no specific medicine or vaccine for coronavirus. Antibiotics can’t treat viruses so they won’t help with the coronavirus. Medicines for the flu don’t work either because the coronavirus is different from the flu virus.

Doctors and scientists are working to create a treatment and vaccine for coronavirus, but this will take time.

What Teachers and Childcare Providers Can Do

Preventing the spread of germs will help protect you and the children in your school/center. Take these steps and teach kids and their families to do the same:

Wash your hands well and often. Wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially if you haven’t washed your hands.

Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that the children touch a lot as required by licensing regulations. Currently, no added steps beyond routine cleaning are needed.

Avoid contact with people who are sick. If a child becomes sick while in your care, keep them separate from the other children while they wait to be picked up. Encourage all families and teachers/childcare providers to stay home if they get sick.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue if you sneeze or cough, then throw it out. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your elbow, not your hands. Make sure that kids have access to tissues and no-touch trashcans.

You do not need to wear a face mask. Experts say they’re not needed to stay healthy. They are needed by sick patients and the health workers caring for them.

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