The Easy & Hard K-12 Reopening Strategies to Implement
As we help more and more K-12 schools implement plans for a safe return of in-person instruction, we wanted to share practical strategies to help you protect students, teachers, and staff and slow the spread of COVID-19.
Our operational strategies are mostly based on CDC guidelines and presents a pathway to reopen schools and help them remain open through consistent use of mitigation strategies. Evidence suggests that K-12 schools that have strictly implemented mitigation strategies have been able to safely open for in-person instruction and remain open.
Here are critical operational strategies to support K-12 schools in opening for in-person instruction and remaining open:
Basic Strategies (Easy to implement)
- Universal and correct use of mask
- Physical distancing (in classrooms)
- Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
- Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities
Advanced Strategies (Harder to implement)
- Wellness screening (prior to arriving on campus)
- Physical distancing (during drop-off and pickup)
- Keeping parents out of buildings (curbside drop-off/pickup)
- Contactless school buildings entry/exit
- Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine (planned vs actual presence)
Let’s explore the Advanced Strategies a little closer now…
Wellness screening (prior to arriving on campus)
Screening school staff, teachers, and students prior to arriving on campus is an effective way for schools to proactively know who in their school community is not feeling well or potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19. School administrators and nurses are alerted when the wellness checks fail, or when they are incomplete. Wellness verification can be done on morning buses, morning parent drop-off, and during attendance by teachers
Physical distancing (during drop-off and pickup)
Schools must provide a way for parents to safety drop off and pickup their kids. During carline pickup, teachers must be able to know which parents have arrived and where they are in line to regulate the amount of students in hallways and in pickup areas, while still maintaining a fast carline process. Bus capacity and activity/class limits also need to be controlled during setup and when daily changes are made.
Keeping parents out of buildings (curbside drop-off/pickup)
Parents need to be kept out of school buildings. Parents should have the ability to notify the school when they arrive on campus and sign their child in or out of school for late arrivals, early dismissals, or dismissal. Front office staff and teachers are notified when parents are curbside, the change record is automatically created in SchoolPass, and the attendance record is directly sent to the SIS. Middle and high school students can receive a text message when their parents arrive.
Contactless school buildings entry/exit
Schools are encouraged to have check-in/out systems that are contactless for staff, teachers, vendors and middle or high school students to sign in and out of school. The contactless stations enable physical distancing from other people signing into the school as well as front office staff, while allowing for a faster and more secure sign-in/out process. This also reduces the need to constantly disinfect pens, clipboards, tablets, etc. used for signing in/out.
Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine (planned vs actual presence)
Contact tracing is really hard to do. Knowing that a student is scheduled to be on a bus or in an activity/class, does not mean they were actually on that bus or in that area/room, or – that unscheduled students were present in the area at that time. We help schools manage planned vs. actual presence throughout the school day – from the time they board the bus or enter the building, to the time they leave using schedules and campus movement data.
Virtual/remote learning can make it even more challenging to know which students, staff, teachers and vendors were at the school on any given day. The school should have record of anyone that was at school, in which building, as well as the time of entry and exit.
For more information or to have a conversation about these strategies, please contact us.