Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tips for Teachers and Childcare Providers
Everyone has questions about coronavirus (COVID-19). You probably have many of your own. Here are answers to some common questions about coronavirus.
What Is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
At the end of 2019, a new type of coronavirus began making people sick with flu-like symptoms. The illness is called coronavirus disease-19 — COVID-19 for short. The virus spreads easily and has now affected people in many countries.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) causes a fever, cough, and trouble breathing. Some people have a sore throat. 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 usually 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.
Doctors and researchers are working on medicines and a 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.
What Teachers and Childcare Providers Can Do
Preventing the spread of germs will help protect you from COVID-19. Take these steps:
- 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.
Many schools and childcare centers are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. But if you still have children in your care:
- 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.
For up-to-date, reliable information about coronavirus (COVID-19) and how schools and childcare centers should prepare, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) websites. If students or families have been traveling or plan to, your school/center should follow recommendations from your local health authority. The CDC's site also has updated travel information.