Reopening Schools in a Pandemic
As the world is battling the pandemic, parents are struggling with their kids. In addition to the added school requirements that parents are finding themselves responsible for, they are also living in a constant sense of uncertainty. The decision to close or open schools seems to change every day, making it hard for parents to prepare and execute any type of plan. While the risk to children appears to be lower, many adults work in school buildings. From bus drivers to nurses, opening schools will affect more than just students. Therefore, certain precautions need to be taken as schools prepare to welcome students and staff back into the buildings.
Schools need masks, and other personal protection equipment, to protect their staff. Nurses deal with bodily fluids during their workday. They will require a large number of gloves and a face shield to protect themselves from children seeking medical attention. Custodians will be handling chemical cleaners and possibly large cleaning equipment. In order to do this safely, custodians will need respirators and non-slip footwear. Some schools may choose to purchase clear partitions to separate desks in order to stop the spread of germs. All this equipment is essential to responsibly reopen schools.
When schools reopen, the schedule may not look the same as before. Many adjustments have been suggested in order to limit the number of people that students come into contact with. Lunches may be eaten at the student’s desk. Students may not rotate between classrooms like they are used to. A lot of areas are slowly moving towards a hybrid plan, in which students go into school some days and learn virtually the rest of the week. This allows the school district to reduce the number of people in the school each day.
It is important to remember that everyone is trying their best to do what they feel is right. Nobody wants to change course on school openings at a moment’s notice. School officials are constantly checking statistics, evaluating other school’s plans and reacting to recommendations that always seem to be changing. This is a good thing. New information comes out every day, and schools should be acting according to the most up-to-date information. Be patient and remain flexible. It is possible that schools may be opening and closing in some fashion for the rest of this school year. So, try not to get hung up on one phase or the other. This is the way it has to be right now. Prepare as much as you can for the uncertainty.