This week and over the next few to come, millions of kids will be heading back to school. From the get go, families and teachers are facing the uncertainty of not knowing what is going to happen whilst we head back into the classrooms with the coronavirus hanging about.

Therefore, if you are a parent, a tutor or teacher your head must be exploding right now, with lots of doubts and fears, as well as with the question that keeps going round and round: Will it be possible to return to the classrooms safely, whilst at the same time avoiding any unnecessary risks?

The truth is, we would love to give you a straightforward watertight answer, but unfortunately we don’t know have all the answers. However, what we can offer you is some reassurance by giving you a few tricks and tips to make going back to school safer without having to rely on disposables.

We hope this list is useful:

1. Use a certified reusable face mask

We already know that here in Spain kids over 6 years old using a face mask is going to be compulsory in classrooms, so it would be a good idea to grab a reusable face mask made from natural fibres, like these high quality cotton masks made from fabric that has been approved by Aitex UNE0065:202.

As you will see, the reasons for getting your hands on this face mask, and not any old other one, are noteworthy:

  • It’s safe: it has a bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) rating of ≈ 95%, comparing well with the European minimum of 70%.

  • It is very breathable (≤40): with this mask you will not feel overwhelmed and your kids will be able to run about without getting tired.

  • It’s washable: it’s effective filtering ability can withstand up to 5 washes.

  • It’s safe for your health: the fabric used is 100% Oeko-tex approved cotton, to make sure that your children are not breathing in synthetic microfibres that can be harmful to their health and are found in synthetically made masks.

  • It is responsibly and ethically made in local sewing workshops.

  • It’s comfortable: it comes in different sizes (small – for children, medium and large) that adjust to the size of one’s face and include a pointed design on the bridge of your nose that ensure it doesn’t move around or fall down when you speak.

  • It’s good value: they cost just over €5 each.

 

2. Carry your school gear in a backpack made of natural fabric

If you have ever been to school you know that all the backpacks generally end up thrown on the playground floor or sit leaning against the staircase. Therefore, it is a good idea to find a backpack you can count on, one made of natural fabric that can withstand hundreds of washes without falling apart.

This type of backpack is an excellent choice because:

 

3 . Avoid using water bubblers and fountains with a reusable bottle

Another way to ensure a safer return to school is to stop your kids from drinking from the public water fountain or from the tap in the communal bathrooms when they come back thirsty from playing football or jumping rope. In order to avoid reverting back to bottled water, you can simply throw a stainless steel drinking bottle (filled with tap water from home) in your backpack.

They are perfect for making sure you stay hydrated whilst also being safe and eco-friendly as they:

  • They prevent coming into contact with communal drinking fountains.

  • They are made of a safe material, free of toxins.

  • They avoid the need to use single-use plastic bottles.

  • They are versatile: depending on the age of your child, they are available in smaller or larger sizes. And if you happen to be a teacher, you will also notice we have extra large sizes and insulated versions like this one.

  • They are ideal for keeping water cool during the whole school day thanks to the innate properties of stainless steel.

 

4. Use soap instead of hand sanitising gel

According to this article, washing your hands with soap is the most effective method to avoid becoming infected due to contact, even more effective than using alcoholic antiseptic hand gels, as soap destroys the virus’ fat layer resulting in it no longer being able to stick to other cells and thereby infect them. So, one of the best measures you can take to have a safe return to school is to make washing your hands regularly with soap a habit (focusing on areas such as the back of your hand and the edges of your nails). To help you achieve this, pop a pocket size stainless steel soap box in your backpack loaded with a moisturising soap such as this one.

Taking your own soap and pocket-sized soap box to school ensures the following:

  • You can reduce your plastic use, avoid the need to use hand sanitising gel in plastic packaging.

  • You take care of your skin and that of your little ones, protecting it from exposure to alcohol that dries out children’s sensitive skin and that of some adults.

 

5. Cover your school books with greaseproof paper and paper packing tape

There are many other options to plastic contact for covering your kid’s text books and exercise books and protecting them from getting dirty and from being wiped clean on a regular basis. One of Marion’s best tips in her book “Familas sin plastico (Plastic-free Families)” is to use plant-based greaseproof paper like the one we have available in our online shop.

“Why greaseproof paper?” you ask:

  • It’s safe for our health: unlike plastic contact, greaseproof paper doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals that are harmful to our health.

  • It’s biodegradable: given that it is a 100% plant/based material.

  • It’s big: the paper sheets are generous in size making them perfect for covering books of any size, large and small.


We hope that these tips and tricks are helpful when it comes to facing school going back and feeling as safe and relaxed as possible.

Whether you are a mother, a father or a teacher and no matter what you decide when it comes to the kids going back to school, we are sending you buckets of strength and patience to face the next few months of change.

P.S. Have you decided whether you are going to send your kids back to school yet? In that case, had you thought about the measures we have mentioned for making the return to school safer? Do you have any other ideas you’d like to share? We would love to hear all about them in the comments.