A Class in COVID: Parents may need to think outside the lunchbox when it comes to sending kids to school with food this year


(WTNH) — Sending children back to school when there are invisible germs that could be deadly is a complicated issue. And it might force parents to make some changes before they send children out the door amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Parents might have to think outside the box a little bit,” says Dr. Patricia Garcia, a pediatric hospitalist at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

She says this uncertain year could be time to ditch the lunch box:

“If you’re going to be packing your kids’ lunch, you have to think about ‘how are you going to clean and disinfect whatever products you send that lunch in?’ There are lunch bags that can be easily disinfected if they’re made with metal and other materials that you can wipe down easily. If you have a cloth bag and you’re not going to launder it daily, so a brown paper bag that you can dispose of could be very helpful.”

Obviously, include an ice pack for perishable foods. But there are other options.

“There’s plenty of fruits that don’t need to be on ice,” she says.

And Garcia says, kids should not share food with friends.

“The number one thing about food safety is we have to make sure kids are washing their hands before they eat,” she explained. “We need to have clean hands and a clean surface to eat on.”

Overall, children might need to develop some new habits.

“Washing their hands regularly, using their masks, and maintaining physical distance of at least six feet from other people whenever possible,” she said.

And doctors say food-born transmitting is not a huge issue. But you should also check your child’s temperature before sending them to school and keep them home if they have one.

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