In Nevada, most school districts are already back in session, or are resuming in the following weeks.
But with the latest Omicron subvariant — on top of cold and flu season — this has some parents, teachers, and even students on edge when it comes to protecting their health, as it can be a challenge to differentiate the three viral infections.
Fortunately, there are some steps parents can take to keep their kids — and school districts — healthier this year.
Test for COVID early and get flu shots scheduled
It’s important for parents to set up an appointment before sending their children back to school, especially if they start showing flu-like symptoms. Nevada law requires vaccinations for childcare, schools, and colleges, with the exception of religious beliefs or a medical condition. Students are also required to submit proof of immunity to tetanus, diphtheria (Td or Tdap), measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) before enrolling. Parents and legal guardians can print official immunization records for their child(ren) on Nevada WebIZ.
Currently, the COVID-19 vaccination is not required in Nevada but The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for children ages six months and up. Getting a booster shot is still the best way to keep your child, family members, peers, and teachers from being hospitalized with COVID-19. Learn more about booster shot eligibility here.
Not only should parents schedule vaccinations and shots, but this is also the perfect time to schedule a physical exam for your child or turn in any medical forms they may need.
Keep your kid home if they are sick
If your child is feeling unwell now or during the start of the school year, it’s important to have them stay home to stop the spread of the virus.
Although the latest Omicron sub variants (BA.4, BA.5) are more contagious, the symptoms are quite similar to a cold, flu, or allergies. This makes it difficult to diagnose but the CDC breaks down the differences of symptoms between the three.
Build healthy sleeping and eating habits
Start a firm, routine schedule of when to log off the computer, take a break from video games, and turn off other electronic devices.
Establishing an earlier bedtime can prevent sleep deprivation for a back-to-school schedule.
Considering it will still be summer when school bells ring, it’s also important to ensure your child is hydrated and accustomed to drinking plenty of water to prevent heat illnesses. Read our blog on how Nevadans can safely exercise in hot weather.
Identify factors impacting mental, emotional health
Think back to your adolescent and teenage years; whether you’ve experienced it yourself, or possibly have witnessed it in others else, many people around this age face several factors that can derail their confidence and self-esteem. They can also be experiencing academic struggles such as test anxiety, or environmental factors such as social media, peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol, and the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
The first step to supporting your child is through conversation; be present and initiate discussions regularly. Whether it’s establishing routine conversation at the dinner table, or private one-on-one conversations, both parents and teachers can bond with their children and students, which helps recognize changes in mood or behavior.
Nevada Health Link is committed to the 10 essential health benefits, offering the best insurance plans that covers lab services for vaccines and shots, as well as mental health and substance abuse. It’s the only health insurance resource that can provide you with federal tax credits and subsidies to help cover the cost of your insurance that fits your needs and your budget. Explore your options now.
Easy vaccine/shot scheduling portal
The State of Nevada has made scheduling immunizations easier by making appointments for COVID-19 vaccines, flu shots, and other shots from your home. Fill out the screening questionnaire here and schedule your appointment.
Back-to-school vaccines – Northern Nevada
Click here for a list of participating immunization clinics in Washoe County.
Back-to-school-vaccines – Southern Nevada