With the uncertainty of in-class learning resuming in the fall, preparing for the start of the school year is going to be challenging, especially when it relates to protecting your kiddos. Thankfully, the CDC has released a list of considerations that can be added to existing school rules and regulations to help protect school staff, educators, and students and slow the spread of any potential outbreaks of COVID-19. Below you’ll find a list of supplies that school should have available for teacher use in the classroom as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Materials to promote and support hygienic behaviors
Handwashing stations should be available in every classroom, along with plenty of soap for students to use. If there is no station available, hand sanitizer that consists of at least 60% alcohol should be available at all times.
Paper Towels and Tissues
Encouraging staff and students to cover their sneezes and coughs is crucial, and having tissues on hand helps them to follow this protocol.
These are another necessity in every classroom, as the rules of learning are changing. Wipes can be used to sanitize any frequently touched surface -indoor and outdoor – such as classroom supplies, water fountains etc. A routine should be developed to make sure you are using these effects and ensure that your classroom is as safe as possible and also not using them directly in front of children to avoid interaction with any toxic fumes.
As for sharing objects in the class, this should be as restricted as possible. Keep students’ belongings in separate areas in a way that works best for you and your students. A great example could be either by cubby systems or labeled containers. To limit sharing, each student should have their own set class materials assigned to them for each lesson. These could range from their art supplies to even electronic learning aids.
Cloth Face Coverings
When it comes to wearing masks in the classroom, there have been mixed recommendations. On one hand, the risk of COVID-19 may rise if face masks are worn incorrectly or if it’s constantly readjusted, increasing the number touches to the face. On the other hand, masks can provide additional protection when physical distancing is challenging, and they protect the spread of asymptomatic patients.
It is difficult to expect students to wear a face mask properly for an entire school day. Additionally, communication is a natural part of teaching and may be obstructed if a mask is worn. Therefore, this may not be a requirement but a consideration. If you or your students choose to wear a mask, consider making it fun and using it as a form of self-expression or a way to be creative by wearing masks with interesting colors and prints.
No-Touch Trash Cans
When discarding used cleaning supplies and disposable items, there should be a “no-touch” system in place to ensure cross-contamination does not occur. Whether it is the student or the educator disposing of an item, these trash bins should be present in both the classroom and anywhere deemed appropriate.
Installing physical barriers may be an option some teachers will prefer using to ensure appropriate distancing. These barriers can include desks, chairs, and even tape. A great example is using tape on floors to create routes to navigate in to, out of, or through the classroom or use tape on the floor to show how much space should be between students.
Various signs and messages should be put around the classroom, in restrooms, and around handwashing stations to remind students of hygienic behaviors and promote protective measures they should be following. Free resources can be found here on the CDC website, or you can get creative and make your own!
These are just a few considerations to transform your classroom and school into a safer environment for learning during COVID-19. For more considerations, check out the full list of considerations from the CDC.
Also, remember to stay updated on your municipality announcements and requirements. If you have any other creative suggestions, we encourage you to share them with your community to help teachers everywhere promote behaviors that will reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools.
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