What schools can do to stay safe during COVID-19
To stay safe during this Covid -19 pandemic , there are a number of things that schools should do .
- Physical distancing : It is important for students and staff to stay at least 6 feet apart. However research has found out that spacing desks at least 3 feet apart and avoiding close contact may be beneficial especially if students wear cloth face coverings and do not have symptoms of illness. Staff and adults should stay 6 feet from children whenever possible. Thy should always wear cloth face covering , limit in person meeting and avoid areas such as staff lounge. Schools should use outdoor spaces and unused spaces for instructions and meals with distancing whenever possible.
- Hand hygiene and cloth face covering : Children over the age of 2 and all adults should wear face mask that cover the face and mouth to stop the spread of the virus. Frequent hand washing with soap and water is also very important for everyone.
- Changes in the classroom : Student interaction can be limited by doing the following :
- Having teachers move in between classrooms rather than students .
- Leaving classroom doors open to help reduce the touching of surfaces such as doorknobs
- Allowing students to eat lunch at their desk or in small groups rather than crowded lunch rooms
- Cleaning and disinfectants : Schools should follow proper CDC guidelines on proper disinfecting and sanitizing classrooms and common areas.
- Symptoms at school : The school nurse should take the temperature of anyone who feels sick during school time. There should be a specific area to isolate students who are not feeling well. It is important for school nurses to use PPE (personal protective equipment) such as N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, disposable gowns and face shields to stay safe.
- Exposure : If students or staff members becomes exposed to someone infected with COVID-19, they should quarantine for 14 days from the day they were in close contact with the person. Close contact means being within 6 feet of the person for at least 15 minutes. A person is known to be infected if they have a laboratory-confirmed infection or illness consistent with COVID-19.
It is important for schools to frequently remind students, teachers, and staff to stay home if they have a fever of 100.4 degrees F or greater or have any signs of illness.
Cleaning, Disinfection, and Hand Hygiene in Schools. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/clean-disinfect-hygiene.html. Accessed September 4th , 2020
What will a return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic look like? UNICEF. https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/what-will-return-school-during-covid-19-pandemic-look. Accessed September 4th, 2020