Getting the kids ready to return to school? Consider these tips to help keep your children healthy, safe and happy


Back-to-school time is upon us again, and we’ve all got our fingers crossed for a return to a more “business-as-usual” type of school year. In addition to rounding up school supplies as well as hand sanitizer and masks, here are a few ways to help ensure your children will have a healthy and safe start to the school year.

Good hygiene is key to good health

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been teaching our kids, more than ever, the importance of basic hygiene. As kids head back to school, we need to keep emphasizing how essential it is to wash our hands frequently and properly (sing the alphabet song!), and keep desks and classrooms clean.

Depending on where you live, masks may be optional, but kids should still avoid close contact, especially breathing or talking in someone else’s face. An elbow bump is the new high five. Remind kids to cover their mouths when sneezing or coughing, ideally into a tissue or their elbow. The more kids follow a good hygiene routine, the less likely they will spread germs. And if they understand the role of hygiene to good health, it sets them up for a lifetime of good hygiene habits.

Taking medication at school

If your child takes medication on an ongoing basis for asthma, diabetes or another condition, or if they require an epi-pen for severe allergies, make sure that both your child and the school are aware and prepared. Ensure your child has at least a basic understanding of their condition and to speak up if something doesn’t feel right.

If your child can administer their own medication, make sure they know their dosing information and where their medication is stored, such as a specific pocket in their backpack. If they require assistance, notify the school ahead of time as you’ll need to provide signed consent for someone at school to administer medication.

Medication should be kept in its original container with a label showing the student’s name, prescribing doctor, dosing info and the like. If you need, your pharmacy should be able to provide an extra container for school.

It’s also important to have a school emergency medication plan in place, particularly if your child has a severe allergy. You’ll want to ensure that your child’s school is properly equipped to respond, should the need arise.

Protect their mental health, too

Returning to school can be stressful for kids for a number of reasons. Check in with your kids to see how they are feeling about the transition or if they’re struggling with anything in particular—a new class, a new teacher, a classmate.

Adjusting to school can take a while, especially if your children haven’t been attending classes in-person for a while. For some kids, after-school restraint collapse can be a very challenging part of returning to school.

Help prepare them for potential changes as we hopefully head into the recovery phase of the pandemic by encouraging them to talk about their thoughts and feelings around the pandemic or anything else they want to share. As we all know, the pandemic has taken a mental toll on all of us so let your kids know that you’re there to support them.

The more prepared we are for back to school whether it’s packing healthy school lunches, choosing a backpack or managing medications, the better we can prepare our kids. If you have questions about medication requirements for school, Express Scripts Canada pharmacists are available 24/7 to speak with their patients to help answer questions about your child’s condition and assist with creating a medication safety plan.