Kids are going back to school – and their safety needs to be a top priority. With schools reopening, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that all educational facilities strictly follow COVID-19 prevention strategies so they can safely remain open for in-person classes. A lot of preparation needs to take place, and prevention strategies must be followed meticulously to thwart the spread of the virus. Here is some important information on the safety measures and materials that schools will need to prepare to safely reopen.
Three Essential Issues Schools Need to Address When Reopening
Due to the rapid transmission rate of COVID-19, schools need to step up and ensure they’re taking the necessary steps to keep their students safe. There are three essential issues all schools should address before reopening their doors for students:
Students and faculty members should wear their masks at all times during the school day and during transportation. Exceptions should only be made for eating, drinking, and for students with special medical conditions. Tightly woven cotton masks (with multiple layers) are the most effective. Schools can encourage students to use their masks properly by holding information sessions that emphasize the importance of wearing masks.
2. Physical Distancing
In addition to wearing masks, students and faculty members will need to follow physical distancing guidelines to reduce their risk of contracting the virus. Students should stay at least six feet apart. Staff members should also remain six feet apart from students, as research indicates that transmission rates are higher in staff members.
Physical distancing can be made easier through:
- Removing excess furniture from classrooms.
- Ensuring that desks are facing in the same direction.
- Limiting visitors.
It is also essential for schools to make sure students and faculty are practicing proper hygiene etiquette. Everyone should be reminded to cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and also wash their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose.
What Safety Materials Should be Purchased by Reopening School Districts?
To address the above issues, schools need to purchase the right materials and ensure they have adequate supplies for all students and faculty members.
School districts should purchase:
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including masks and gloves
- Safety signs to place across the school to serve as reminders
- Screens to place between desks to minimize transmission
- Alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
- No-touch trash cans
Taking Steps to Prepare the School Facility
Apart from encouraging students and staff members to take the necessary preventative measures, schools will also have to prepare their buildings to minimize the chances of an outbreak.
This can be done through:
- Ensuring proper ventilation (maximizing outdoor air and using exhaust fans in the washroom and kitchens)
- Maintaining the water systems to ensure they remain safe to use
- Regularly cleaning the facility and closing down communal spaces to increase physical distancing
- Changing the layout of classrooms to maximize physical distancing and adding screens between desks where required
Schools should also make sure their students and staff members are regularly tested. If they identify a positive case, they must inform the health department as soon as possible. All students, families, and staff members should be thoroughly educated on when they should stay home and how they should quarantine and self-isolate as though they have tested positive for COVID-19 themselves.
With schools reopening, school districts have the responsibility of ensuring the necessary steps are taken to prevent the spread of the virus. Their duties include purchasing the necessary materials to keep students and faculty members safe. For help obtaining the necessary materials, contact the experts at Ironmark. We’re happy to help.