Steps To Keep Schools Healthy During COVID-19
As students return to school this fall, whether that be half days, three days a week, or full-time - schools will need to be doing what they can to reduce the spread of germs and in turn the spread of COVID-19 in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Steps To Keep Your School Safe & Healthy
Make a plan.
Have a plan in place for if a student or faculty member tests positive for Coronavirus. Designate who will clean & disinfect affected areas, what quarantine measures may have to be taken, and plan for routine cleaning & disinfection. Make arrangements with a local cleaning & sanitizing business so that your school can be sanitized at a moment's notice.
Ensure all staff are informed.
Make sure that all faculty is aware of school wide plans. Discuss hurdles to cleaning and disinfection and how they can be overcome. For everyone to stay safe and healthy, everyone will have to know what protocols are in place and what to do if there is a deviation from it.
Make sure that teachers are aware of what expectations there are for them personally cleaning and disinfecting their classrooms. Go over how to properly use cleaning supplies and what types of cleaners should be used on certain surfaces. Hand out any resources to keep teachers on track.
Clearly outline protocols for when students or faculty are ill.
Make sure that everyone in the school knows that they should not come in if they feel ill or have recently traveled. Set up a protocol that outlines when an ill person can return to school, how long they must be out, or if they need any tests performed before returning.
Limit or end the use of shared objects.
Do not let students share gym equipment, art supplies, games, computers, pencils, etc. If they will be sharing, disinfect between student use.
Try and eliminate sharing of objects that are hard to clean & sanitize, or objects that are soft and porous. Rugs or soft seating can be removed to reduce the challenge of keeping them sanitary.
Enforce social distancing where possible & wear masks.
Set up desks or working areas 6 feet apart where possible. Create some type of barrier between students if possible.
Teacher tip: Students may understandably be more one edge than usual this school year (as you are). If in your budget, try to find fun ways to encourage social distancing in your classroom and help students feel comfortable in their new ‘normal’.
Promote hand hygiene in your school.
Washing hands is one of the most powerful ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19. During these times, everyone is having trouble learning to not touch their mouth, nose, or eyes - but younger students may have even more trouble remembering this.
Promoting a culture of hand-washing at your school will help curb the spread of germs when students inevitably touch their faces or touch shared objects.
- Teach proper handwashing techniques: Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Build in times for students and faculty to wash their hands. Have students wash their hands before they can go to lunch, after they get to school, or after recess.
- Make hand sanitizer readily available around the school near high-touch surfaces such as doors, stairwells, water fountains, or cafeterias. According to the CDC, hand sanitizer should be at least 60% alcohol.
- Place hand-washing flyers and stickers around the school, especially in places people should be washing their hands as a reminder.
Returning to school during a pandemic will be a stressful time for students, parents, teachers, and faculty alike. What we should remember is that we are in the fight against COVID-19 together, and will have to work together to continue to safely open public spaces in the coming weeks and months.
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