Physicians give health and safety tips for upcoming school year

Students knowing the right answer
Posted at 4:02 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 10:32:22-04

IDAHO — School is right around the corner and sending kids back to the classroom right now is causing concern for some parents.

St. Luke's held a virtual call Wednesday where health experts discussed safety tips parents and students should know before the school year officially kicks off.

Related: Wellness Wednesday: Preparing for back to school

“We seem to be at a rather crucial point here in this pandemic. We have the delta variant coursing through the country, unfortunately, overwhelming some of our hospitals,” St. Luke’s Children's System Medical Director Dr. Kenny Bramwell said.

Over the last year, classes have been different for all students and full of changes. Being isolated by remote learning or cancellations of sports has led to impacts on mental health.

“COVID-19 has created a situation where we're inundated with continuous changes, and it adds the stress making it harder to make successful adjustments,” St. Luke’s Behavioral Health physician Dr. Brian Olsen said.

There are things you can look out for if someone is struggling like changes in behavior, sleeping too much, or irritability.

One of the first things Olsen recommends is getting back to the basics.

“You can practice good eating habits or sleeping, exercise. Also, be careful not to try to make too many changes at once maybe sometimes it's best to identify a few priorities and then case yourself as you work through those changes,” Olsen said.

From a parents’ standpoint, Olsen recommends identifying particular tasks you can focus your energy on.

Different school districts across the Treasure Valley have implemented different mask rules, but doctors say while you might be feeling COVID-19 fatigue, masking up can make a difference when it comes to battling the virus.

“We have some school districts that are talking about it we have other school districts that are sort of refusing to engage and just ignoring the data and what’s coming, and I'm a bit concerned as to what that’s going to represent for our children in schools,” Bramwell said.

St. Luke's officials say we are not yet at the crisis point the state saw last November but certainly headed in that direction. Children ages 12 and over can receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and trials are currently in progress for younger children.