Help keep the Morgan Park Academy community and your family healthy by using these 10 practices to decrease your child’s exposure to illness at home and at school:

1. Wash Your Hands
Everyone should wash their hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for about 20 seconds. (This is the amount of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.) In the Lower School, MPA teachers always make time for student hand-washing before lunch or snack. When soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer or wipe.

2. Stay Home
Keep students home from school if they are ill. Symptoms to monitor include persistent coughs that are not being covered, sore throats, runny noses, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever of more than 100 degrees. This is important not only for the sick student, but also for the other members of our school community, as one sick child can quickly become multiple sick children and staff.

3. Keep your Distance
Don’t be a space invader! Although we love our friends and family, attempt to maintain a distance of at least 3 feet when interacting with people outside of your household.

4. Hands Off
Help us teach children to not touch their nose, eyes, or mouth when they have dirty hands. These areas are often doorways for germs to enter the body.

5. Catch Coughs and Sneezes
Catch coughs and sneezes with a tissue, in your collar, or in your elbow. If a tissue is used, throw it in the trash, and immediately wash hands. We teach Lower School students to do the “alligator” cough or sneeze. Sneezing into the crook of the elbow prevents germs from collecting on hands for transfer to common surfaces.

6. Don’t Share
As much as we pride ourselves on our caring and sharing environment, staying healthy means students should not share items such as food, drinks, lipstick, lip balm, earbuds, gym clothes, gloves, or scarfs with their friends at school.

7. Clean and Disinfect
Cold weather items like coats, gloves, and scarfs (that cover mouths and noses) should be washed often. Sanitize backpacks and lunchboxes with spray when unable to wash them. Frequently disinfect common surfaces such as desks, sinks, drinking fountains and water bottles, keyboards and tablets, doorknobs, remotes, and toys. Viruses can live for up to 1-3 days if left on plastic and stainless steel.

8. Wear a Mask
When going to crowded places or interacting with others outside of your household, wear a mask. Wearing a mask decreases your exposure to others that may be ill. Wearing a mask is also important if you are beginning to feel unwell, as the first few days usually have the highest rates of transmission of illness.

9. Boost Your Immune System
Get plenty of sleep and exercise, decrease stress, eat a well-balanced diet (think fruits and vegetables), and drink lots of water!

10. Get Immunized
The Centers for Disease Control recommends flu vaccines and COVID boosters for the entire family.

By Nerissa Conley, RN, PEL-CSN

Nurse Conley is our school nurse.