The New Normal: Measures To Be Taken In Schools After Reopening

The New Normal: Measures To Be Taken In Schools After Reopening

Dr. Sandeep Panikkasseri Dasan, Specialist Pediatrician, Aster Clinic - Muhaisnah

As per the CDC and WHO's recent update, the below are certain guidelines to be kept in mind by school authorities once schools re-open after the lockdown has been lifted:

  • Have small class sizes which allow students to remain 6 feet apart and ensure they do not mix with one another in closed groups. For example, 50% capacity of class can function on alternate days to achieve this.
  • Children who are unwell must be advised to remain at home and continue online learning. There should be provision to simultaneously continue online and in person classes. They can return to school only if they are symptom-free for at least 3 days after illness.
  • Temperature to be monitored on entry at school and buses and isolation rooms to be made available to care for children, if found sick
  • Children must wear masks and avoid sharing food and belongings
  • Teachers, staff and students must be educated about safety protocols and post awareness signs on visible locations about topics like social distancing and hand washing to stop the spread of germs
  • Cleaning and disinfection of school premises and transport vehicles must be done daily after school hours
  • Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible
  • In school buses, seat one child per row and skip rows
  • Physical guides should be put in place like tapes on floors to ensure social distancing and creating one-way route in hallways
  • Close communal use of shared spaces which are closed, such as dining halls and playgrounds with shared playground equipment, if possible, else reduce use and clean and disinfect between uses
  • Add physical barriers, like plastic flexible screens, between bathrooms sinks, reception desks and any other place where physical social distancing may not be possible
  • Pursue virtual activities in lieu of field trips, student assemblies and consider sporting activities in ways that minimize risk of transmission to players
  • Space out arrival and drop off timings or locations to limit contact between groups
  • Allocate designated staff to be responsible as a point of contact for COVID concerns, involving in notification to parents, local health officials and tracing contacts at school