Nurse's Office

Tina Veilleux, RN

Welcome to my virtual office. I hope the resouces here will be helpful to you and your family. Please feel free to email me with questions or concerns or if you would like to find a time to talk. veillt@portlandschools.org.

School food distribution sites: Mon- Friday, 10-12:00pm- King, Portland High, East End, Deering High, Rowe, Moore, Riverton, Presumpscot, Peaks Island

Mon-Friday, 4:00-5:00pm Boys and Girls Club

For Information about Coranavirus (COVID 19) check out our school health site: https://sites.google.com/a/portlandschools.org/pps-health-services/ or go to cdc.gov at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

TALKING TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT CORONAVIRUS

Find Out What Your Child Already Knows

Ask questions geared to your child's age level. For older kids, you might ask, "Are people in school talking about coronavirus? What are they saying?" For younger children, you could say, "Have you heard grownups talking about a new sickness that's going around?" This gives you a chance to learn how much kids know — and to find out if they're hearing the wrong information.

Follow your child's lead. Some kids may want to spend time talking. But if your kids don't seem interested or don't ask a lot of questions, that's OK.

Offer Comfort — and Honesty

Focus on helping your child feel safe, but be truthful. Don't offer more detail than your child is interested in. For example, if kids ask about school closings, address their questions. But if the topic doesn't come up, there's no need to raise it unless it happens.

If your child asks about something and you don't know the answer, say so. Use the question as a chance to find out together. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for up-to-date, reliable information about coronavirus (COVID-19). That way, you have the facts and kids don't see headlines about deaths and other scary information.

Speak calmly and reassuringly. Explain that most people who get sick feel like they have a cold or the flu. Kids pick up on it when parents worry. So when you talk about coronavirus and the news, use a calm voice and try not to seem upset.

Give kids space to share their fears. It's natural for kids to worry, "Could I be next? Could that happen to me?" Let your child know that kids don't seem to get as sick as adults. Let them know they can always come to you for answers or to talk about what scares them.

Know when they need guidance. Be aware of how your kids get news and information, especially older kids who go online. Point them to age-appropriate content so they don't end up finding news shows or outlets that scare them or have incorrect information.

Help Kids Feel in Control

Give your child specific things they can do to feel in control. Teach kids that getting lots of sleep and washing their hands well and often can help them stay strong and well. Explain that regular hand washing also helps stop viruses from spreading to others. Be a good role model and let your kids see you washing your hands often!

Talk about all the things that are happening to keep people safe and healthy. Young kids might be reassured to know that hospitals and doctors are prepared to treat people who get sick. Older kids might be comforted to know that scientists are working to develop a vaccine. These talks also prepare kids for changes in their normal routine if schools or childcare centers close in the future.

Put news stories in context. If they ask, explain that death from the virus is still rare, despite what they might hear. Watch the news with your kids so you can filter what they hear.

Kids and teens often worry more about family and friends than themselves. For example, if kids hear that older people are more likely to be seriously ill, they might worry about their grandparents. Letting them call or Skype with older relatives can help them feel reassured about loved ones.

Let your kids know that it's normal to feel stressed out at times. Everyone does. Recognizing these feelings and knowing that stressful times pass and life gets back to normal can help children build resilience.

Keep the Conversation Going

Keep checking in with your child. Use talking about coronavirus as a way to help kids learn about their bodies, like how the immune system fights off disease.

Talk about current events with your kids often. It's important to help them think through stories they hear about. Ask questions: What do you think about these events? How do you think these things happen? Such questions also encourage conversation about non-news topics.




Staying Active- It's important for your child's well being (and yours!) to stay physically active and to spend time out of doors. Families can safely be outside during this time. Take walks, run, play in the park. Avoid places where groups gather and where there are high touch areas, such as playground equipment. Instead, have running races, play "Simon Says" , hoola -hoop, or kick a ball around. If there are others around, keep 6 feet distance between people. Use hand sanitizer and wash hands as soon as you arrive home.

Children and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Tips to keep children healthy while school’s out

Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. You can learn more about who is most at risk for health problems if they have COVID-19 infection on Are you at higher risk for severe illness.

Steps to protect children from getting sick

  • Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer

  • Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing)

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)

  • Launder items including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.

You can find additional information on preventing COVID-19 at Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus and at Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities. Additional information on how COVID-19 is spread is available at How COVID-19 Spreads.

Children may present with mild symptoms

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms. Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It’s not known yet whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness, for example, children with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs. There is more to learn about how the disease impacts children.

Children don’t need to wear facemasks

No. If your child is healthy, there is no need for them to wear a facemask. Only people who have symptoms of illness or who are providing care to those who are ill should wear masks.

School Dismissals

Children and their friends

Limit Social Interactions: The key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to limit contact as much as possible. If you have play dates, keep the groups small. Encourage older children to hang out in a small group and to meet outside rather than inside. It’s easier to keep and maintain space between others in outdoor settings, like parks.

Practice Social Distancing: If you have small meetups, consider hanging out with another family or friend who is also taking extra measures to put distance between themselves and others (social distancing).

Clean Hands Often: Make sure children practice everyday preventive behaviors, such as washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important if you have been in a public place.

Revise Spring Break & Travel Plans: Revise spring break and travel plans if they included non-essential travel.

Remember, if children meet outside of school in bigger groups, it can put everyone at risk.

Information about COVID-19 in children is somewhat limited, but current data suggest children with COVID-19 may only have mild symptoms. However, they can still pass this virus onto others who may be at higher risk, including older adults and people who have serious underlying medical conditions.

Help children continue learning

Stay in touch with your child’s school.

  • Many schools are offering lessons online (virtual learning). Review assignments from the school, and help your child establish a reasonable pace for completing the work. You may need to assist your child with turning on devices, reading instructions, and typing answers.

  • Communicate challenges to your school. If you face technology or connectivity issues, or if your child is having a hard time completing assignments, let the school know.

Create a schedule and routine for learning at home, but remain flexible.

  • Have consistent bedtimes and get up at the same time, Monday through Friday.

  • Structure the day for learning, free time, healthy meals and snacks, and physical activity.

  • Allow flexibility in the schedule—it’s okay to adapt based on your day.

Consider the needs and adjustment required for your child’s age group.

  • The transition to being at home will be different for preschoolers, K-5, middle school students, and high school students. Talk to your child about expectations and how they are adjusting to being at home versus at school.

  • Consider ways your child can stay connected with their friends without spending time in person.

Look for ways to make learning fun.

  • Have hands-on activities, like puzzles, painting, drawing, and making things.

  • Independent play can also be used in place of structured learning. Encourage children to build a fort from sheets or practice counting by stacking blocks.

  • Practice handwriting and grammar by writing letters to family members. This is a great way to connect and limit face-to-face contact.

  • Start a journal with your child to document this time and discuss the shared experience.

  • Use audiobooks or see if your local library is hosting virtual or live-streamed reading events.

School meal services

Check with your school on plans to continue meal services during the school dismissal. Many schools are keeping school facilities open to allow families to pick up meals or are providing grab-and-go meals at a central location.

Keep children healthy

Watch your child for any signs of illness.

  • If you see any sign of illness consistent with symptoms of COVID-19, particularly fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider and keep your child at home and away from others as much as possible. Follow CDC’s guidance on “What to do if you are sick.”

Watch for signs of stress in your child.

Teach and reinforce everyday preventive actions.

  • Parents and caretakers play an important role in teaching children to wash their hands. Explain that hand washing can keep them healthy and stop the virus from spreading to others.

  • Be a good role model—if you wash your hands often, they’re more likely to do the same.

  • Make handwashing a family activity.

Help your child stay active.

  • Encourage your child to play outdoors—it’s great for physical and mental health. Take a walk with your child or go on a bike ride.

  • Use indoor activity breaks (e.g., stretch breaks, dance breaks) throughout the day to help your child stay healthy and focused.

Help your child stay socially connected.

Limit time with older adults, relatives, and people with serious underlying medical conditions

Older adults and people who have serious underlying medical conditions are at highest risk of getting sick from COVID-19.

  • If others in your home are at particularly high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, consider extra precautions to separate your child from those people.

  • If you are unable to stay home with your child during school dismissals, carefully consider who might be best positioned to provide child care. If someone at higher risk for COVID-19 will be providing care (older adult, such as a grandparent or someone with a chronic medical condition), limit your children’s contact with other people.

  • Consider postponing visits or trip to see older family members and grandparents. Connect virtually or by writing letters and sending via mail.