As schools have been slowly coming back to in-person learning others are still staying virtual. On February 12, 2021, the CDC released their proposed phased mitigation plan to reopen K-12 schools.
Schools are such an important part of our community. They provide a safe and supportive learning environment for students, jobs for teachers, support staff, and other essential roles to run a school, as well as allow parents and guardians to work to support their families.
The CDC states: “It Is critical for schools to open as safely and as soon as possible, and remain open to achieve the benefits of in-person learning and key support services.”
Operational Strategy Guidelines
The operational strategy presents a guideline to safely reopen schools through mitigation strategies to help protect students and staff. These strategies include:
- Universal and correct use of masks
- Social distancing
- Handwashing and hygiene etiquette
- Cleaning and maintaining a healthy facility
- Contact tracing and quarantining
The CDC recommends prioritizing the strategies of both the universal and correct use of masks and social distancing of at least 6 feet, although consistently and correctly following these strategies has shown a decrease in risk and slowing the spread of COVID-19 in schools.
Let’s dive in to a few of these strategies:
The CDC recommends promoting and keeping a distance of at least 6 feet between all students, staff and visitors. This can help not only provide protection, but also minimize risk of exposure and limit the number of close contacts.
Using guides and reminders like floor labels and arrows help promote social distancing and reduce crowding. If the area is often mopped and cleaned, using anti-slip material might help with other safety concerns. Be sure to find labels that adhere to various floorings like tile and carpet to ensure the labels can be used throughout your common areas, reception desk, front office, hallways, gyms and classrooms.
It is important to not only teach, but reinforce proper handwashing etiquette. Adding handwashing signs in bathrooms, lounges and kitchen areas to remind students and staff to wash their hands as well as how to properly do so can help reduce the spread of germs in your school.
Cleaning and Maintaining a Healthy Facility
It is imperative to routinely and consistently clean high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, hand rails and light switches within a school and on school buses as much as possible.
Using antimicrobial film that contains an antimicrobial agent to protect it against bacteria, old, mildew and fungi is great for high contact surfaces.
Pairing the film with a system that constantly reminds you when, what and where to clean as well as provides proper procedures to clean each area can help reduce the spread of germs and keep your staff on a routine cleaning schedule.
All-in-all, more and more schools will be reopening to students and staff. Keep your school and community safe by doing your part to slow the risk of spreading COVID-19.
As more research is conducted and new finding are brought to fruition on COVID-19, education, guidance and recommendations will be updated by the CDC.