As schools reopen, it’s important that precautions are taken both inside and outside the classroom to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Why Do I Need to Keep My School Clean?
It is important to keep your school clean at all times. However, with COVID-19 present, we need to be more vigilant and find new ways to keep our vicinity cleaner and safer for our community.
Firstly, we highly encourage schools to be well-informed about COVID-19 and how it spreads. This is one way we can protect ourselves and others. Teach your students the importance of following rules and abiding by them through classroom procedures and protocols.
Take note of your students' concerns and ideas. Answer their questions in an age-appropriate manner. Younger students tend to have different reactions so it is important to acknowledge them.
This is vital for protecting the wellbeing of students, teachers, and administrators, as well as their families and the wider community.
Maintaining Physical Distance In School
It is important that you establish classroom ground rules when it comes to physical distancing. Take note of the protocols established by your respective country’s Ministry of Health and local health authorities.
Here are some of the common ones you can start with:
- Maintain a distance of at least 1-metre between everyone present at school
- Implement staggered recess breaks
- Avoid big groups and limit after-school activities
- Have a different check-in and out time for students and teachers
- Use signs, ground markings, tape, barriers and other means to maintain a 1-metre distance around the school
- Have outdoor lessons outdoors more frequently
Humans are creatures of habit so we recommend schools to create a dos and don'ts list so that students and teachers can refer to. This will keep everything in order and make it easier for you to switch to new guidelines if needed.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Your School
Cleaning and disinfecting your school are critical in the battle against COVID-19.
Daily cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and frequently touched objects, such as desks, countertops, doorknobs, chairs, hands-on learning items, and toys should be done more often.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has released an easy-to-follow checklist here on what and when to clean and disinfect.
To make it more interesting for your students, you can try the following methods:
- Organise creative and fun activities and rules with your students to teach them on avoiding high-risk and high-touch areas in classrooms and their surroundings e.g. not touching the railing while walking up and down the stairs, or keeping classroom doors open to avoid touching door-knobs
- Incorporate rules into lessons so that your students can easily remember them
- Create fun posters that can be hung around the school to remind others to stick to the sanitation rules.
Welfare and Hygiene in School
Your teachers play a vital role in ensuring students understand the caution they should take to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, and it is important you lead by example in the classroom.
Hand-washing is one of the easiest, more cost-efficient and effective way of combating the spread of germs. One way is to encourage students to get into the practice of regularly washing their hands and applying hand sanitiser at key moments, such as entering and leaving the classroom; touching surfaces, learning materials, books, and after using a tissue to blow their nose. Encourage students to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth too.
If your staff and students are required to wear fabric masks, ensure that everyone is familiar with when and how they should wear masks and how to dispose of used masks safely.
It is important to take note that all efforts should be made to ensure the use of a mask does not interfere with learning. No child should be denied access to education because of mask wearing or the lack of a mask because of low resources or unavailability.
Here are some tips and tricks:
- Teach your students to sing a song while washing their hands (this will teach them how long and how you should be washing your hands)
- Set a time for students to wash or sanitise their hands throughout the day
- Physically demonstrate how to wash your hands for students to follow
Communicate the Importance of Keeping Your School Clean
Our last advice is to keep families informed and in the loop on all of your school's ongoing. There may be occasions where parents forget certain information and guidelines so it is your job to remind and keep them updated.
While you can prepare physical materials such as letters, we highly recommend using a school management system to easily prepare and disseminate information to parents.
Using LittleLives, schools can do the following:
- Streamline all your communications with your parents in one single platform using LittleLives' Communications
- Share important announcements and updates via the Bulletin feature
- Conduct surveys with your parents on your school's health and safety procedures
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