Considerations for In-Person School During COVID-19

Back to School During COVID-19

As summer winds down, most schools are working through decisions about how classes will be held starting this fall. Many schools have chosen to begin the academic year through some form of online learning. For those who have opted for in-person classes, there are several measures that you can take to help protect your students and staff.

Health Screenings

  • Remind parents or legal guardians that students should stay home if they are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Parents, legal guardians and students should perform a daily self-assessment to ensure the student does not have a temperature or any other COVID-19 symptom.

Modified Classroom Layouts

  • Reduce class size, when possible.
  • Space seating at least six feet apart.
  • Have all desks face the same way so no students face one another.
  • Use physical barriers where applicable.
  • Provide physical guides (like tape on floors) designating one way routes in hallways to minimize physical contact.

Reduce Shared School Supplies

  • Have each student maintain their own school supplies.
  • Adapt drinking fountains to fill water bottles and have each student bring and use their own water bottle.

Minimize School Gatherings

  • Consider holding all student gatherings (assemblies, back-to-school nights, performances, etc.) virtually.
  • Hold virtual staff meetings when possible.

On-Site Food Services

  • Create physical space between students when eating.
  • Consider a staggered lunch schedule to reduce crowding.
  • Consider serving pre-packaged food instead of using a cafeteria line (keep student allergies in mind).
  • Use disposable food service items when possible.
  • Disinfect surfaces after food contact.

Increase Sanitation

  • Encourage regular handwashing and the use of hand sanitizer.
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect classrooms daily.
    • Clean high touch fixtures, such as handrails, light switches and door knobs multiple times throughout the day.

Transportation

  • Review bus routes and decrease the number of students per bus to encourage social distancing.

    • When social distancing is not possible, consider having students wear masks.
    • Clean and disinfect buses following each trip (before and after school).

Staffing

  • Develop a plan for screening staff upon arrival to the school each morning.
  • Plan a response for staff that exhibit symptoms or test positive.
  • Develop and plan for additional substitute teachers in the event of increased absenteeism.

To ensure your school is in compliance with state and local regulations on this topic, be sure to check with and follow the guidelines from your state’s Department of Education and local school districts, as well as your state’s Department of Public Health.

Additional Resources

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Brian Gleason

Brian Gleason

Senior Risk Manager

Brian Gleason is a Senior Risk Manager at GuideOne Insurance, providing resources and consulting services to GuideOne clients. His goal is to keep his clients' valuable resources focused on their mission.

Prior to his career at GuideOne, Brian spent 20 years in risk management, disaster preparedness, and occupational health and safety for a university in southern California. He has responded to a wide variety of crises including earthquakes, building floods, bomb threats, and chemical spills. He has his MBA and is a Certified School Risk Manager with years of experience consulting with churches and non-profits in insurance, enterprise risk management, human resources issues, and emergency management.

© 2020 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.