5 Mistakes to Avoid When Reopening Schools

by | Jul 30, 2020 | schools

Just the thought of reopening school in the middle of a pandemic is enough to send parents and teachers nationwide into full blown panic mode.

School board personnel everywhere, like you, are asking: how do we protect our students and faculty from this new, incredibly contagious virus?

You’ve never done this before.

You don’t know where to start, and your main concern is preventing an outbreak without sacrificing the quality of your education. 

While no one knows for sure what the best methods for reopening school are just yet, we can certainly tell you what mistakes to avoid.

1. Sending all students back at once

Sending everyone back to school at once would be just as nightmarish as reopening the economy without carefully thought-out phases. To circumvent this disaster, several schools nationwide are implementing staggered schedules, breaking up students into groups that attend classes on specific days to avoid crowding.

Some schools, like universities, are even alternating between in-person courses and online courses for bigger classes. While it’s too early to tell the effectiveness of this strategy, states that have reopened too quickly have proven that sending students back all at once would be disastrous. 

2. Making masks optional

Make a mask part of your students’ uniforms. As of August 12, Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee are the only remaining states without a mask requirement. If your school has been given the choice of whether or not to mandate masks, the right selection should be obvious. 

By enforcing masks, you not only greatly reduce the probability of transmission, but you will also help students, parents, and teachers feel safe as school reopens. Consider offering online courses for high risk students and those who can’t wear masks due to underlying health issues.

A recent article from the World Economic Forum states, “wearing a mask is the most important thing we can do to stop the spread of COVID-19.” This claim is mainly due to the fact that people with the virus can be contagious for up to two weeks before their symptoms start showing. Additionally, asymptomatic carriers can spread the virus without knowing they have it.

3. Ignoring social distancing guidelines

Implementing social distancing policies in schools is very difficult, however, this does not mean you should abandon the idea altogether. Spacing desks six feet apart and creating designated 6-foot markers in the hallway will be ideal in teaching your students the importance of keeping their distance.

Ignoring or relaxing social distancing policies can result in serious consequences. Because kids are so fidgety and likely to play with their masks, face coverings can’t guarantee 0% virus transmission. With this in mind, it’s important to note just how necessary social distancing is to decrease the risk transmission rate even further. 

4. Skipping temperature checks

As of August 12, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Utah, Vermont, and Washington are the only states that require some form of employee temperature scanning

Just because your state does not require it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the time to implement such a policy when reopening school. While fever is not always present in COVID-19 patients, children may have a hard time communicating that they feel feverish. Given this fact, it’s critical to the safety of your employees and students that you take the temperature of every person to enter your school.

Traditional temperature guns require constant re-calibration, demand your oversight and precious time, break social distancing guidelines, and make going to school feel like a bizarre horror movie. Thankfully, scanning hundreds of people doesn’t have to take up all of your time in the morning. 

SafeScreen temperature kiosks quickly and efficiently check each person as they walk up for a normal temperature and a mask–without your oversight. You will only be alerted when someone has a fever or is not wearing a mask. If your school does not require masks, this feature can be turned off.

Unlike temperature guns, this technology is fully customizable and can even be integrated with your automatic doors to open only for people who read under your specified temperature. These are just a few of the endless features that SafeScreen offers. Contact us today and get your order in before school starts. 

5. Cleaning but not disinfecting

The Lafayette Parish School System recently announced their plan for cleaning classrooms, and it’s been met with a lot of pushback from the community. Every classroom in the parish will be cleaned–not sanitized–with a “disinfectant” in between classes. 

The selection of this product is in part due to fear of dangerous chemicals that are found in common disinfectants, however, one teacher has already been hospitalized due to an allergic reaction to the “disinfectant”. 

Unfortunately, this product takes 10 minutes to fully sanitize surfaces and will not be able to disinfect classrooms in the mere 5 minutes teachers have to clean between classes. This renders the product almost completely inefficient and is infuriating parents across the parish. 

When it comes to cleaning your classrooms, real disinfecting (not cleaning) will be your best bet at keeping students safe. Rather than having teachers scramble to clean their desks 7 times per day between classes, consider switching to UVC disinfection.

With Shock and Shield, our UVC light “Aura” is used to sterilize your entire school, then a spray is used to lock in the disinfectant for up to 88 days. This means no more rushing to clean classrooms several times per day and reapplication is only necessary 4 times per year.

To learn more about SafeScreen, Shock and Shield, or our bulk quantities of cloth face masks, request a complimentary consultation with Quality Face Wear today. We’ve got you covered.