Northland schools are preparing to open with a variety of options available to students due to COVID-19.  Essentia Health has stepped up and offered a helpful digital toolkit.

Whether your kids will be learning in person, via distance learning or some combination of the two, this back-to-school toolkit is a terrific resource to help keep students and educators safe during the pandemic.

“We all realize that sending our children to school during a pandemic is a scary thought,” said Dr. Jonathan KenKnight, a pediatrician at Essentia. “That’s why we have developed this toolkit — with input from our pediatricians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, child life specialists, the CDC and state departments of health — to bring you guidance and tips to help navigate this unprecedented situation we find ourselves in preparing for the next academic year.

“We hope you find this resource helpful as you move forward to making a decision. Whether you choose to send your child to school or participate in distance learning, or some sort of in-between, we are here with you and support your decision as parents and caregivers.”

The toolkit contains resources for things like how to properly wear and clean a face mask, which face mask is best for kids, recommendations for effective social distancing inside and out of the classroom, which medical conditions elevate one's risk, what measures can be taken to protect children, and more.  There are also answers to frequently asked questions.

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Educators and administrators will also find comprehensive school-planning guides from state departments of health, printable classroom posters and graphics, and more information about Essentia’s COVID-19 community response team.

There is also a video, which features:

  • Students, pre-K through high school seniors, discussing their thoughts on returning to school and what they will do to stay safe
  • Essentia child life specialists Jessica Hotchkiss and Michelle Finneman demonstrating mask-wearing tips and tricks for youngsters
  • Dr. KenKnight talking about the challenges that surround this decision-making process for many parents.

Please follow the link below to access the toolkit, which you'll likely want to bookmark.