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Reopening Report Card: What parents can do now to protect kids when schools reopen

If you're thinking about sending your child to school with disinfectant wipes, MetroHealth's Dr. Amy Ray says think again.

CLEVELAND — Below the typical requests for pencils, notebooks, and glue sticks – there will likely be some new supplies on your child's back to school shopping list.

“For older kids, wearing cloth masks will become an important piece of the equation,” said Dr. Amy Ray, Medical Director of Infectious Disease at MetroHealth.

School districts will encourage – and in some cases, require – that students and staff wear face coverings.

Hand washing breaks will also become a part of the new routine.

“The most important thing to teach them is how to wash their hands safely and effectively,” said Dr. Ray.

But if you're thinking about sending your child to school with disinfectant wipes, Dr. Ray says think again.

“That's not a practice that I would recommend. In general, cleaning products are not intended to be used by children,” said Dr. Ray

Surface cleaning and disinfecting is extremely important but Dr. Ray says it's the responsibility of the school to develop and maintain that protocol -- not your child.

"Things students and teachers touch frequently, there should be a process for keeping them clean," said Dr. Ray. "Disinfectant wipes are easier to use on hard surfaces and provide great disinfection very quickly."

You can read the EPA's approved list of disinfectants here.

Dr. Ray is not just talking as a physician. She's also talking as a mother of three who is planning to send her kids back to the classroom.

“For me, if I was to do online learning with them, the harm would outweigh the benefit and that's the equation for me,” said Dr. Ray.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is advocating for in-person learning but recommends districts create flexible policies that can change, depending on the level of infection.

Right now, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is leaning toward offering some in-person and some remote classes.

“Making sure we have sanitizer pumps throughout our school building, having planned hand washing breaks, encouraging lots of outdoor activities while the weather is still nice, all of those things are designed to layer safety precautions to ensure the best possible safe experience,” said Eric Gordon, CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

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