What you should know about the reopening of schools.The truth is, that this virus is here to stay. Nothing is one hundred percent risk free, especially going back to school. There is no way that anyone can guarantee a completely safe way to reopen schools. But, there are some precautions that we all can make.
Wear a Face Covering
Research shows that face coverings help prevent coronavirus from spreading. All students and school staff need to wear face coverings. If you are a teacher of younger children, then you should look into a clear mask. This will help young learners watch your mouth movements, helping them learn best. Make sure that young children get to take mask breaks. This should be done outdoors, allowing all students to keep at least 6 feet apart.
Stay 6 Feet Apart
Most importantly, everyone should try to stay 6 feet apart. That includes students and all staff. It will be difficult with younger elementary school children but it is possible if they are in “pods.” These are groups where they only interact with each other, limiting contact with others. Cutting down class sizes is also a good idea.
If the weather permits, teachers can teach outside. Reducing the times students come and go is also an option. The school can stagger starting times and ending time. Some of these strategies will help reduce the number of different students whom teachers interact with each day.
Cleaning Protocols Should be Clearly Outlined
The CDC clearly states that routine cleaning with soap and water will help reduce expose to the virus. Light switches and outdoor railings that are frequently touched, should be regularly disinfected using an EPA- approved disinfectant or bleach solution. This should be done after every use or at the minimum, daily. Optimizing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can reduce the possibility of airborne exposure in schools. In Lastly, school should be making sure that air filters are installed correctly and changed out regularly.
Reopening is priority for younger children and special needs children.
It is so much harder for younger children to be learning virtually. If a full reopening is just impossible, an in-person learning could help these children. Another possibility could be to prioritize limited openings to lower-income students and children of essential workers.
People with existing conditions
There is a significant risk from coronavirus to people with health issues such as congenital heart disease, immunosuppression, genetic, neurologic, or metabolic disorders. Another thing to consider is if you live with someone that is high risk. Parents need to decide what is in the best interest of the entire household.