Back-to-School Safety Tips: How to Reopen amid COVID-19
Table of contents
- 7 Back-to-School Safety Tips for Reopening
- 1) Follow Guidelines for Your City/County/State.
- 2) Encourage Good Hygiene Practices.
- 3) Install Helpful Signage Indicating New Policies.
- 4) Consider Equipping Students and Staff with PPE.
- 5) Make It Easy to Maintain Distance.
- 6) Increase Routine Cleaning and Disinfection.
- 7) Have a Procedure for Addressing COVID-19 Concerns.
With schools aiming to reopen in the near future, chances are you’re looking for guidance so you can do so safely. After all, there’s nothing more important than the health and safety of those in your building. But figuring out exactly what to do can be tough, as there are so many things to consider. That’s why it helps to have back-to-school safety tips you can reference…
The good news is we’ve put together some tips just for school officials like you. These include recommendations from the CDC and other sources, along with best practices. And by reviewing these tips, you’ll have a much better idea of what you need to do to prepare.
7 Back-to-School Safety Tips for Reopening
Before we dive in, it’s worth noting that the following isn’t an exhaustive list. It’s just a starting point for making sure you’re allowing reentry to your school in a safe and responsible way. With that said, these back-to-school safety tips should help you develop a proper plan for protecting your students and staff.
Now, let’s get started…
1) Follow Guidelines for Your City/County/State.
First, it’s important to follow the guidelines set by your city, county, and state. As you’ve probably discovered already, the rules vary from one location to another. That means you need to be sure you’re following to those for your area.
As you start to prepare for the reopening of your school, visit the official website for your city, county, and state. Take advantage of any resources that have been sent to you or made available online. And stay up to date with your local news! By doing so, you can avoid violating any rules that have been put in place for schools.
2) Encourage Good Hygiene Practices.
One of the most important back-to-school safety tips we can offer is to encourage good hygiene practices. This is something you likely do anyway, but it’s worth taking it a step further. After all, it goes a long way toward preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Here are some ways to encourage good hygiene in your school:
- Stock up on supplies such as soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and tissues.
- If possible, install hand sanitizer stations throughout the building.
- Post signage with handwashing steps in restrooms.
- Send an email to parents and staff about hygiene practices before reopening.
- Remind students and staff to use a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
3) Install Helpful Signage Indicating New Policies.
Signs are a great way to grab attention and relay important information (we should know). That’s why you should consider installing new signage in your school. You’ll be instituting new policies, and the right displays can reinforce those policies.
By reminding individuals of proper handwashing procedures, social distancing guidelines, visitor restrictions, and more.
Depending on the sign shop you choose, you can even get custom school signage that features your logo and colors. That way, your signs not only serve an important function but also fit your school’s branding.
4) Consider Equipping Students and Staff with PPE.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is strongly recommended for indoor spaces, especially schools. As mentioned in the first tip, you should check local guidelines to see if certain types of PPE are mandatory for school workers. But even if you’re not required to have PPE, you may still want to consider equipping students and staff accordingly.
For example, you could provide teachers, staff members, and even students with face shields. These can help guard against the transmission of respiratory droplets. Further, they protect the eyes, which are left vulnerable when just masks are worn.
Another suggestion would be to distribute gloves to staff members. It’s important to remember that gloves aren’t a replacement for proper handwashing etiquette. However, wearing gloves is a good practice when cleaning and serving food.
Finally, you may want to think about putting up safety barriers in certain parts of the building. Placing them in the administration office and even on desks can reduce the spread of harmful pathogens. Moreover, getting portable barriers means you can take them anywhere.
5) Make It Easy to Maintain Distance.
Maintaining distance is probably one of the hardest back-to-school safety tips to follow. However, it’s important to do so whenever possible. Limiting face-to-face contact between individuals is crucial for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Some ways to enforce social distancing include the following:
- Space desks at least 6 feet apart.
- Stagger pickups and drop-offs.
- Reconfigure classrooms to improve the flow of traffic.
- Post signage as a reminder to stay 6 feet apart.
- Host nonessential meetings and events online.
6) Increase Routine Cleaning and Disinfection.
Your school likely has a cleaning regimen in place already, but you should review it before reopening. Teachers, bus drivers, and janitorial staff should frequently clean and disinfect their spaces when school is in session. Make sure each has a cleaning schedule and the necessary supplies.
Note that regular cleaning is especially important for frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, light switches, faucets, toys, desks, and gym equipment. In addition, your janitorial staff should make sure to clean any tactile ADA signage you have in place, as these displays often go overlooked.
7) Have a Procedure for Addressing COVID-19 Concerns.
The last of our back-to-school safety tips is to create a procedure for addressing COVID-19 concerns. This is key, as having a plan in place beforehand will allow you to react more quickly. The more comprehensive the plan, the better.
At a minimum, your procedure should cover…
- Who the point of contact is
- What staff and students should do when they’re feeling ill
- When testing should be recommended
- How to notify parents and staff about confirmed cases
- When individuals should self-quarantine
Of course, it’s in your best interest to do as much research as possible before reopening your school. But by applying the back-to-school safety tips provided here, you’ll be well on your way to creating a safer environment for students and staff.
Remember that if you need help preparing your school for reopening, the team at Erie Custom Signs is here for you. We offer a selection of PPE in our online shop for your convenience. Plus, we can provide you with custom, easy-to-clean wall signage for reinforcing new policies. Just reach out for a quote!