These pages are designed to assist families during the COVID-19 school closure event, to help skill practice continue at home. These resources are not a replacement for the high level of instruction that students receive from their professional teachers in their classrooms. APS does not endorse these activities as instruction that replaces what would be happening in the classroom. These resources are meant to reinforce learning that has already occurred. You can find more information at https://www.apsva.us/learning-at-home/.
Health and Public Safety Information
For the latest information from Arlington Public Schools regarding COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus), please visit the APS COVID-19 updates page. For the latest information from the Commonwealth of Virginia regarding COVID-19, please visit the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 updates page. Please help ensure the transmission of accurate information in our community by fact-checking and confirming information with a reliable, reputable source before posting it on social media. The Centers for Disease Control has provided a helpful article for families who would like to learn effective ways to discuss COVID-19 with children. The American Association for the Advancement of Science interviewed a Yale physician and social scientist to discuss the medical facts behind school closures in health emergencies, and published the article in the magazine Science, which you may read online.
Talking With Your Family About COVID-19
1. Remain calm and reassuring: Remind them that you and the adults at their school are there to keep them safe and healthy. Please do not lie to the students. Convey age-appropriate information. Trust yourselves; you are experts in the age group with whom you work.
2. Be honest and accurate:
a. Coronavirus is serious and the adults at home and school are taking care of your safety.
b. Not everyone will get the Coronavirus. School and health officials are being especially careful to make sure as few people as possible get sick. To help with this, we will be staying home for a few weeks.
c. It is important that we treat EVERYONE with respect and not jump to conclusions about who may or may not have COVID-19.
d. Remind them of the ways to stay safe while they are at home:
i. Avoid close contact with people, especially those who are sick
ii. Cover your cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue; make sure you throw the tissue away.
iii. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
iv. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (like we’ve been doing every day). If you don’t have soap, use hand sanitizer.
3. What to do when they ask questions:
a. Be developmentally appropriate.
b. Don’t volunteer too much information as it may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer the question. Do you best to answer honestly and clearly.
c. It’s OK if you can’t answer everything. You can say, “I don’t know, but I do know that adults are working hard to keep you safe.”
d. After each question, make sure the focus ends with a reassurance with what we are doing to stay safe. Affirm their feelings, but remind them of all the things they can and are doing to stay safe. (i.e. “I hear that you’re scared. It’s ok to be scared. By washing your hands and not going to school and getting a good night’s sleep, etc. etc. we all that we can to keep ourselves safe).
4. Keep the door open.
a. Make sure kids feel safe to continue asking questions. Lines of communication are going to be open. No question can’t be asked.
b. You can say, “even though we don’t have the answers to all the questions right now, know that once we know more, we will let you know too.”