Mission 10

Mission Details | Parents + Children

Hello + welcome to our tenth collective mission.

With variants, uncertainty around childhood susceptibility, + the return to school, there is a lot of concern over the safety + health of our children. If you are a parent or guardian to school-aged children (K-12), your mission awaits below. If not, scroll to the bottom for a mini recruitment mission.

⛑️ How to support: Share your tips + wisdom here on how you’ve kept your family healthy, safe, + aware within COVID. Then spread what you found most helpful from VDH's Healthy Back to School page to your community of parents/guardians via social media groups, text, or email.

📲 To be featured in the Mission 10 status update + recap, provide your feedback + let us know how you share. Your insight + ideas help guide future efforts.

💞 Families supporting families. The goal of this mission is to collect insight which can be shared - from parents for parents. If you have school aged children, we’d love to know your tips + wisdom on how you’ve been keeping your family healthy, safe, + aware. To support this mission, please lend 5 minutes of your time here. (Feedback form is now closed for Mission 10)

🧰 Prep for a healthy summer + safe return to school by exploring these recommendations + resources about COVID, immunizations, child well visits, routine oral health, mental health resources, + more for your child. Share what you find most helpful with your community of parents/guardians via social media groups, text, or email.

🗞️ Facts about children + COVID-19 - The questions + concerns over whether or not children can contract, spread, or even get ill from COVID-19 have been steady. Comprehensive + recent research is suggesting that yes, children can contract + spread COVID-19, particularly with the new + emerging variants.

📋 Mini Recruitment Mission: Do you know a Virginia resident between the ages of 18 - 24? Help recruit them to join the COVID Community Ambassador Program by sharing your efforts + direct them to the registration page. We'll need all hands on deck for upcoming Gen Z missions.

Key facts, feedback + insight on mission success.

🗓 On August 5th, 2021, Mission 10 email was delivered to 4,014 Ambassadors.

⛑️ Within the first week, mission 10 received 4,200 views. The Ambassador email drove engagement to a variety of resources, including 50 visits to Harvard childhood + COVID facts and 80 visits to the VDH Healthy Back to School page for additional resources. Ambassadors submitted 71 parent-to-parent insights, and we've recapped highlights, below.

⛑️ In addition to the core mission, ambassadors helped recruit ambassadors, aged 18-24 years olds, who can support upcoming Gen-Z missions. Within the first week, we received 47 new sign-ups.

-- The Commonwealth thanks you for your support, Ambassadors! --

📊 💬 INSIGHT 1 | Children + COVID Misinformation:
How much misinformation are you seeing within your communities, related to children + COVID?

💬 INSIGHT 2 | Question For Parents:
How are you helping keep your children safe? What precautions are you taking?
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  • 💬 "8 year olds are wearing masks, my 13 year old is fully vaccinated."

  • 💬 "Avoiding trips as much as possible. Masking and social distancing inside apartment building and indoor activities and applying proper hand washing."

  • 💬 "Monitoring who they are around and communicating with other children’s parents."

  • 💬 "We limit ourselves to outdoor activities and always mask up"

  • 💬 "Maintaining the required precautions"

  • 💬 "Keeping socially distant, handwashing, hand sanitizer, and MASK!"

  • 💬 "We are avoiding large gatherings, doing mostly outdoor activities, masking for summer camp, and getting groceries delivered to avoid stores."

  • 💬 "Limiting indoor activities. Wearing masks indoors (if we go anywhere indoors). No indoor dining. Lots of outside play. Buying more masks so they always have an extra."

  • 💬 "Using mask and cleaning hands"

  • 💬 "My children wear masks in public and even at home when their grandparents visit. My children will be doing another year of virtual learning to stay safe."

  • 💬 "At summer camp I'm making sure our children know that they need to keep their masks on - even if some of their friends take theirs off. We have opened up our social circle to our friends with vaccinated parents and that has been wonderful. We are only doing activities where the kids can wear masks inside until they can get vaccinated."

  • 💬 "We keep our vulnerable child at home. The other kids in my house were old enough to be vaccinated so they all got vaccinated. We all still wear masks in public and we don't go to large gatherings or dine in restaurants. If my older kids want to visit friends, they have to meet outdoors and wear masks."

  • 💬 "Personal leadership. I wash my hands. We elbow and do not hug. Our family also discusses the realistic changes in our lives."

  • 💬 "Keeping them away from non family persons; frequent washing hands"

  • 💬 "We have developed a routine and I have been very open with my 5 and 8 year old about illness, germs, keeping a distance and getting others sick. Every morning we take our temperatures, and brush our teeth and rinse with Listerine antiseptic. Everyday after class they drop their masks in the dirty clothes and grab a new mask every morning. When we come home, everyone washes their hands and rebrushes their teeth with listerine. We are also taking multi-vitamins with immune boosters and the adults have had their vaccines. Lastly, I purchased the hand sanitizer in bulk and have attached little sanitizers to their backpacks for them to use whenever they feel they need it. I work from home to lessen the risk of contact and we limit the people we are in contact with."

  • 💬 "Keeping them mostly home. Outdoor activities only with other children. Masking indoors in public. Visits with grandparents where everyone in the home is fully vaccinated. No indoor dining."

  • 💬 "Vaccinations and masks when required"

💬 INSIGHT 3 | Hearing From Others:
What concerns are you hearing from other parents of school-age children?
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  • 💬 "That there is no pool testing in our schools. My oldest just went to school in Germany for a couple of weeks and the whole class had to test three times a week. This would be really helpful for elementary aged kids."

  • 💬 "The upcoming back to school in person for 5-11 years old unvaccinated kids"

  • 💬 "We are wanting to know who they are with so in the event of infection we can communicate amongst each other."

  • 💬 "How do we get them back into school safely without mask mandates and vaccines? What about teens who claim they are vaccinated not masking in schools when that is untrue?"

  • 💬 "Mostly, do they need to wear masks in school"

  • 💬 "Concerned about the children keeping their mask on. Also if the schools are able to adequately socially distance the children."

  • 💬 "Schools not requiring or mandating masking, what happens when kids do get sick/ spread in schools.

  • 💬 "Unknown. If masked, there will be no quarantining/contact tracing at school. My community is very pleased out school district will be 100% masked."

  • 💬 "Parents are concerned about the safety of their children under 12 years old. How dangerous is for them to attend school personally?"

  • 💬 "Parents want to know what safety precautions are going to be in place when their children return to school, especially those with children too young to get vaccinated."

  • 💬 "Our school district is letting parents choose whether or not elementary-aged children can wear masks (Henrico) and other parents are concerned. We wish they would make masks mandatory until all children are eligible for the vaccine. I've also heard of parents being disrespectful to teachers, camp staff, and even children about wearing masks or the virus. There is a lot of disinformation being spread on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube and on top of it being wrong, the people who believe it are very disrespectful and rude to the rest of us who do not and believe scientists and the CDC/VDH/WHO."

  • 💬 "I'm concerned that it won't be safe enough to send my kids back to school because it seems most parents are against mask mandates for children."

  • 💬 "Feeling online school stinks."

  • 💬 "Worried that they will possibly get covid from teachers or other students"

  • 💬 "That other parents aren't taking the same precautions. Also, it seems ridiculous that the very ones that have absolutely no vaccine are the ones going back into the world."

  • 💬 "Many are going about things like business as usual but stay in a pod of selected people.?

  • 💬 "Concern for children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated yet. School masking policies and confusing information that changes daily. Wondering why teachers are not required to be vaccinated"

💬 INSIGHT 4 | Nurturing:
How are you talking with your children to help them understand COVID-19?
(click to expand)

  • 💬 "My 1st grade child today talked about the vaccine on the way to camp. They were concerned about it hurting so I told them we would celebrate once they got it. We have told them that masks are something we wear in our family as promises to each other to keep each other safe. My Pre-K child knows "the virus" is making things hard right now. We have found PBS Kids and Sesame Street to be very helpful, as well as our children's school and camp teachers."

  • 💬 "I’m letting them know that we need to be cautious of who they play with. But reassure them that they don’t need to be scared."

  • 💬 "As a covid survivor, my child knows first hand how it might effect a person"

  • 💬 "We have been talking to them for a long time. The 8 year olds were virtual all year. They understand we are trying to keep them safe."

  • 💬 "He knows that outside our household cleanliness, distancing and masking are required to not catch COVID. We may have over-steered because he prefers virtual learning to the idea of masking in school. That may be a concern for many (especially if they are old enough to skip school)"

  • 💬 "I’ve explained the virus to them, what it is and how it spread, the importance of wearing mask and social distancing. That they should always wash their hands and try not to touch other people or their belongings."

  • 💬 "We talk about percentage of cases, what that means for them and what is expected (wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing). I haven't seen many science based resources for early elementary school. We use science and critical thinking/ risk assessment based information and teaching for our family. The CDC has some great resources but seem more basic than we need."

  • 💬 "Masking and distancing is still a great way to protect yourself."

  • 💬 "We watch documentaries and read news."

  • 💬 "I answer any questions they have and we read and watch credible news sources. We also talk about the science behind the virus and why it is mutating."

  • 💬 "I just explained that it's a deadly disease and we don't want anyone to get sick or die, so we must protect ourselves with masks, vaccines, and social distancing."

  • 💬 "Our national leadership encouraged mixed messages. We tell adults that the pandemic may go on for years. We tell adults that booster shots are necessary. We tell children that the pandemic is almost over, don’t worry. We tell children don’t worry about a vaccine just ask for help if your tummy or head hurts. The point is that we are acknowledging the pandemic to everyone and asking for different behavior depending on age. This insight is important. It’s not wrong to talk to adults differently. Kids shouldn’t worry about how to grow up safely."

  • 💬 "Just teaching them what the virus is and why we try to keep them safe"

  • 💬 "Good old communication with your children. I want them to be just as scared of this as I am so they will protect themselves when I cannot."

  • 💬 "I keep them as informed as I am with covid-19 and vaccines. They also watch the news and read newspapers and ask questions."

  • 💬 "Constantly updating them on the latest news and science. Educating that the more people are vaccinated, the safer we all are. Encouraging them not to get their news from social media and the importance of reliable source"