Is your child fit to return to school?

ELEVEN-YEAR - OLD Reagan is so impatient and cannot wait to head back to school, where he is one of the best pupils. Unknown to his parents, however, is that last term he could hardly see the blackboard. “I would see blurry writings, so I asked my teacher to move me to the front to improve my visibility,” he explains. This week marks the beginning of first term, but as parents worry about school fees, this is another burning question.

ELEVEN-YEAR - OLD Reagan is so impatient and cannot wait to head back to school, where he is one of the best pupils. Unknown to his parents, however, is that last term he could hardly see the blackboard.

“I would see blurry writings, so I asked my teacher to move me to the front to improve my visibility,” he explains.

This week marks the beginning of first term, but as parents worry about school fees, this is another burning question. Is your child’s health good enough to allow them return to school?

As a responsible parent, you need to take your child’s health seriously, thus, the need to carry out some important health checks.

A good new lunch box, coupled with school supplies are not just what you need for your child to return to school. Children who are visually impaired may not be aware of the problem, so they will not even tell their parents.

The indicators may be symptoms like squinting, blinking, or rubbing their eyes frequently. This should be seen by an observant parent and then take correct measures.

On the other hand, a hearing test should be a must for all children. It might be a minor impairment, but once it develops, it might as well impair their speech development.

It is mandatory for parents to first conduct medical checks for their children before they are allowed back to school.

Is check-up important anyway? Yes, and because these are growing children, it is vital to check for reproductive health issues. Growing up comes with complexities, especially for the girl-child.

Some students fall sick only a week after returning to school, whereas others will definitely ask to go back home to see a doctor.

I wonder what comes out of the parent’s mind. How come one goes through the airport stages? You know how you line up at the immigration office, waiting patiently without a single complaint. But you still wait.

Yet, when it comes to the health of your child, you are sadly up in arms. It only costs you some little patience, so why not buy it unsparingly?

Many people will only go for a check-up when they are sick, while others will even resist. We are in charge of our lives, so parents should not entrust the schools with their own kids.

How best would you describe a child who carries an ailment from home to school? Should we call it parental negligence, or are parents using schools as dumping grounds?

However cumbersome a check-up might appear, it is the only way of helping a child begin the term with the right footing.

Whether there is a ministry policy or not, schools and parents should seriously find measures to arrest this issue. A check-up needs to be embraced as a parental responsibility, and not just a matter of school policy.

Health is a critical component of education. The education and health ministries need to liaise in setting minimum health standards for schools.

The two ministries need to set parameters within which school nurses operate and the medical cases that should be referred. Not everything to be left in the hands of the school administration.

One way of restoring the parents’ confidence is through sensitization. Schools should help parents understand not just the importance of the back to school check-up, but also how parents can be involved in their children’s education.

Welcome on board once again; wish you all a happy new school term!

The author is a teacher at Kagarama secondary school

shebs10@yahoo.com

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