COVID-19 has made the world an uncertain place. This fall, schools will reopen despite the pandemic. There remain concerns about the pandemic. There also are concerns about children getting their education.
If you run a school, you want to make sure that you adhere to the school requirements and standards during the pandemic. You want to make sure you are able to keep the children and the staff safe. You want to do this while maintaining a great environment where children can learn and teachers can do their job without issue.
We’ve put together this detailed guide to show you how. [However please note that these are some suggestions, the scientific organizations
School Requirements During the Pandemic
The first step is to always check the latest rules in your jurisdiction. As this is an uncertain time, the laws may change at a moment’s notice. Always watch the updates and the latest directives given by your local politicians.
Once you do this, here are the steps for when school reopens:
1. Offer Safety Guidelines
Before schools open, you should prepare safety guidelines at the school. Notify parents well in advance what the safety guidelines are and how they can prepare. You can state that desks will be at a distance and require students to wear masks.
You can also request that students each bring a personal bottle of hand sanitizer. You should ensure parents that the school will be cleaned to reduce the risk of infection.
You should also inform parents of the risks of COVID-19 and the best ways for their children to reduce the risk of infection (proper hygiene, social distancing, etc.)
Always adhere to these education standards during COVID.
2. Offer Remote Learning
Wherever possible, your school should aim to offer remote learning. To be as safe as possible, you should offer classes virtually.
To avoid contact, prepare for students to complete homework assignments virtually. The less they have to hand in the printed paper the better. If you can avoid in-class assignments then you should do this as well.
Class time can focus on instruction and at home, online assignments can focus on assessing the student’s learning. If you have any students concerned about attending school in person, there should be accommodation for them.
You should try to record lectures or have PowerPoint presentations that discuss the lessons in class. The student can access these online and complete assignments based on these lectures/presentations. Hold Quizzes and exams online, by using an application that allows for an online proctor.
3. Keep the Environment Clean
The next step is to make sure that the environment at school is always kept clean. You have to assure parents that it remains clean and stick to your promise.
The first thing to do is to clean and disinfect the most commonly accessed areas of the school. This includes the bathrooms, water fountains, and each classroom. If the school library is opened, then you need to make sure that all computers and books are also disinfected.
You may need to request a student to keep a book back in a box for a staff member to disinfect. Only after a staff member disinfects the book should it be back on the shelf.
Clean and disinfect all gym equipment prior to opening the gym. You should also encourage students to clean and disinfect the equipment before moving onto their next exercise.
There has to be a regular cleaning and disinfecting schedule that the custodial staff must adhere to. At a minimum, it should be done at least once a week.
You need to make sure that the school is always ventilated properly. Having clean air circulate through the air ensures that any potential contaminants can be diluted.
Make sure that air conditioning vents are always kept open. They must also be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis. If there are any issues with the air conditioning system, it must be addressed before school opens.
Whenever possible, have the windows of classrooms open. You may want to keep these open for at least an hour before school begins. If weather permits, keep windows open overnight. If any room has a ceiling fan, you can keep it running while class is in session.
You want to make sure that air is especially flowing smoothly in the restrooms and anywhere where large groups may gather.
5. Offer Amenities
If possible, offer amenities to the students. If any of them are concerned about drinking water from a water fountain, they should be able to purchase water bottles directly. If the school has vending machines, make sure that they are cleaned and that the wrappers of snacks are cleaned and disinfected before they are loaded into the machine.
If students have the possibility to purchase lunch at the cafeteria, encourage them to use contactless payments to avoid the spread of the virus.
Make sure that food options in the cafeteria are healthy. While observing sanitary standards is crucial to reduce the risk of contracting the virus, it’s also important to maintain physical health.
By providing healthy food, the school is encouraging the students to think about taking their health more seriously. Distribute hand sanitizers, masks, gloves, and other protective materials to students in case they are unable to provide their own.
6. Social Distancing
Wherever possible, make sure to enforce the rules of social distancing. You may need to cancel any sports altogether. For physical education, students can participate in individual exercises that don’t require contact with other students.
Keep desks in classrooms apart. If possible, there should be at least one empty desk between each student. You should also tell students that they should maintain distance whenever possible. Encourage them to avoid shaking hands or hugging, etc.
At lunch, make sure that tables are at a distance from each other and that students keep a distance from their peers.
Back To School
Now that you know the school requirements during the pandemic, you are ready to reopen the school. We wish good luck as you reopen schools during this uncertain time.
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