After months of virtual classrooms and living room learning sessions, parents and kids all over the country are cheering in unison that schools are finally able to swing open their doors. But in the wake of the pandemic, it’s essential to make the necessary precautions to ensure schools, colleges and universities remain safe, healthy and COVID-free.
From sanitising stations and staggered mealtimes to surface wipes and social distancing, we’ve pulled together some helpful tips and essential buys to ensure your back to school strategy is a complete success.
Follow the social distance rule
Ensure desks, meeting rooms and classrooms are appropriately distanced, keeping to the 1.5m social distancing rule. Display clear floor marks, signs and posters around the school building to remind children and staff to keep their distance from each other. You can print out posters for free on the Safe Work Australia website.
Set up sanitising stations
Scatter sanitisers in communal spaces such as classrooms, canteens, gyms etc. to encourage staff and kids to keep their hands clean and germ-free. Displaying clear guidelines and instructions to make sure they know how to use effectively.
Invest in antibacterial hand wash
Keep bathrooms and kitchens fully stocked with antibacterial hand wash.
Remind staff and kids how to wash hands correctly with this handy poster. This is essential in kitchens, bathrooms, classrooms and gyms. That way you can eliminate the further spread of any nasty germs.
As an added touch, place hand creams around staff rooms and classrooms to stop skin from drying out.
Encourage staff to clean as they go
Germs and illness are often spread via surfaces, so keep out cleaning wipes and disinfectant along with reminders that staff should clean any surface they’ve come into contact with. Particularly desk spaces, staff rooms, classrooms and high traffic areas — if staff are sharing kitchen counters, bathrooms and cupboards, encourage everyone to wipe down every surface after use.
Map out a floor plan
Map out a socially distanced floor plan ensuring desks are 6ft or more apart. That way you can control the space between each student.
Stagger mealtimes and breaks
Implement a shift system for breaks and lunchtimes so you can determine how many kids should be in a communal space at once.
Provide protective equipment
Avoid close contact where possible
Avoid close contact with staff or students who are unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should stay home, without exception.
Arrange virtual meetings
Maintain virtual staff meetings wherever possible, that way all staff can participate freely without coming into contact with one another.
Keep visitors to a minimum
Unless absolutely necessary, try to limit the amount of external visitors passing through the school. Prohibit personal package deliveries and limit shared snacks, coffee stations etc. to decrease the amount of shared surfaces.
Increase cleaning schedule
Improve professional cleaning and disinfecting procedures within the school to reduce the occurrence of germs and bacteria. Make sure appropriate signage is displayed throughout the school, invest in powerful cleaning disinfectants and increase the frequency of your professional cleaning schedule.