Returning to school looks a lot different this year with the main focus centered on how to keep teachers and students safe in a post-COVID world. Schools are now responsible for figuring out how to provide the safest learning experience for everyone — and they’re turning to technology to create their back-to-school COVID safety checklist.
“Digital tech and frictionless systems are creating a more efficient and secure world,” Swiftlane CEO Saurabh Bajaj tells Parentology. “The same can be true in school. Cloud-based apps and no-contact solutions focus on proactive ways to promote health and prevent disease. This is creating safer schools for kids and their teachers, with or without COVID-19.”
Here are 6 different ways schools can use technology and other strategies to help increase health and safety.
1. Daily Home Screening
Requiring daily home screenings for students, teachers, and faculty before they enter the school is the best way to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Swiftlane offers a free Health Check tool that features at-home temperature checks for teachers and faculty, capacity planning, staggered schedule management, and PPE tracking.
The CDC also created a home health screening checklist that parents should complete every morning before a child leaves for school. The checklist includes:
- Temperature 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher when taken by mouth
- Sore throat
- New, uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing (for students with chronic allergic/ asthmatic cough, a change in their cough from baseline)
- Diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
- New onset of severe headache, especially with a fever
Close contact/potential exposure:
- Had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes)
- Traveled to or lived in an area where the local, tribal, territorial, or state health department is reporting large numbers of COVID-19 cases as described in the Community Mitigation Framework
- Live in areas of high community transmission (as described in the Community Mitigation Framework) while the school remains open
2. Touchless Solutions
The most recent reports show that the coronavirus can survive on surfaces for up to days. Limiting the amount of surfaces people come in contact with needs preventative planning. Touchless solutions can be used throughout the school for:
- Access points
- Trash cans
- Bathroom faucets, paper towel dispensers, and hand driers
- Classroom doors
3. Visitor Management Systems
Most schools have implemented stricter visitor policies that only allow access through the main building entrance in order to monitor who is coming and going. Visitor management has become even more critical post-COVID because face-to-face contact can increase virus spread. Visitor management systems can provide many contactless solutions and benefits, including:
- Pre-register parents, substitute teachers, class guests, etc.
- Touchless check-in for visitors
- Conduct health and safety screenings ahead of the visit
- Monitor visitors when they are in the school
- Alert school admins when visitors arrive or leave
- Communicate visitor policies and changes to permitted visitors
- Allow for contactless communication via video intercom system
4. Social Distancing
The coronavirus is mostly spread from person-to-person. So, keeping a safe distance (6 feet) away from others is critical. Schools are decreasing classroom sizes, increasing bus transportation, and changing drop-off and pick-up logistics. Here are a few ways to implement social distancing at school:
- Stagger drop-off and pick-up times
- Designating different drop-off and pick-up locations
- Plan for capacity by enforcing capacity limits for classrooms, auditoriums, offices, etc.
Communication is key when so many different players are involved. Families and staff need to be updated with issues, news, and announcements. This is especially important when it comes to operational changes and safety updates. Implementing a clear communication system via email or mobile app can help…
- Create consistent and timely communication for parents and faculty.
- Make sure important points of contact are posted and notified if need be.
- Ensure everyone knows how to report signs, symptoms, positive test results.
6. PPE and Cleaning Supply Management
No one would have believed that there would ever be a shortage of toilet paper. That goes to show just how important it is to keep stock of essential PPE and cleaning supplies including:
- EPA-approved disinfectant
- Hand sanitizer
- Face shields and masks
Looking for a cheat sheet? School safety tech company Swiftlane developed this back-to-school COVID safety checklist for easy reference.