How to Prepare Your School to Re-open Safely

The pandemic has forever changed how we work and live. If these tough times have taught us anything, it’s that there is only so much technology can do. It cannot replace some of the most fundamental aspects of our society, such as proximal social interaction. This is especially true in the case of young learners.

As you prepare your school to re-open, the need for safe learning remains of pivotal importance. With health and safety protocols, academic support and responsibility of hundreds of children, schools need to be sufficiently equipped to take on these challenges of the new world.

With all of this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of tips you should read to prepare your school to re-open this month:

SOCIAL DISTANCING

As per COVID-19 safety protocols, there should be at least 6 feet (2m) distance between two individuals to help reduce the spread of the virus. However, most classrooms are not designed for this reality, and it can get tough to maintain physical distancing.

Here is what you can do: 

  • Try to space desks at least 3 feet (1m) apart. With this minimum distance and all children wearing face coverings, this method can also have similar benefits. 
  • Activities like singing and exercise are riskier than attending a regular class. Consider spacing out the students more for such high-risk activities. 
  • Teachers and other staff are at a higher risk of contracting the virus from other adults. Ensure that staff follow the 6 feet protocol at all times, not only with students but also with each other. Masks should also be made mandatory and in-person meetings with parents should be avoided. Read more on how staff can safely return to work.

PERSONAL HYGIENE

Like every work and public place around the world, schools will also have to enforce heightened health and sanitisation protocols. Reinforcing healthy habits like frequent hand washing and wearing a face covering is essential.

You are looking to prepare your school to re-open this month, and you have a safety protocol in place. But it is important to remember that children will still tend to mingle with their peers and friends. Portable hand-sanitisers or a hand-sanitising station can come to the rescue and help mitigate the risk and keep everyone in the school safe.

CLASSROOM CHANGES

Interactions usually make classrooms enjoyable. But in this post-COVID world, these interactions have to be kept to the bare minimum. To mitigate the spread of the virus inside the classroom, schools can –

  • Leave doors of the classroom open. This way, students will be kept away from touching high-risk surface areas like handles and doorknobs. 
  • Have teachers move between classrooms instead of students. One teacher switching classrooms for every lecture is better than a hundred students crowding corridors to go to their assigned classes.
  • Have students eat lunch at their desks, rather than going to lunchrooms and canteens
  • Assign seats with names written on the desk and chair. This will ensure better control and cleanliness efforts can be more productive. 
  • Have students correct their own work. The teachers can put up answers on the board or say the answers out loud. This will keep the teachers safe and is also a fun activity for students. 
  • Ensure that every student has a stationery kit of their own to avoid any sort of sharing of objects between them. 

CLEANING

Routine cleaning with antibacterial soap and water will decrease the amount of virus on surfaces and objects. But to stay safe, disinfectants can be used on surfaces that are touched frequently in schools. These areas include tables, doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, toilets and sinks. 

Enhanced cleaning of surfaces after school hours is essential. The cleaning staff should wear necessary PPE like disposable gloves and masks and beware of chemical fumes. It is also crucial to ensure that these disinfectant chemicals are kept out of the reach of children. 

SIGNAGE

Schools are crowded spaces. With students of different ages, it can be challenging to make them follow specific rules. Here are a few ways schools can adopt to make sure children are aware of the practices and are following them – 

  • Ensure physical distancing measures across school buses. On-board seating can be restricted and highlighted by signage. 
  • At school, practice a one-way system. Mark hallways and stairs with one-way arrows on the floor to direct foot-traffic safely.
  • Designate entrances and exits for every classroom and building with signage

All of these changes can be made at a reasonable cost and are very effective in promoting better habits. Children are great visual learners. It is imperative to grab their attention with colourful signage. For example, our Superhero posters reminding and showing kids how to wash hands correctly will make sure students are following protocol on without teachers having to remind them!


If your school is looking to adopt signage, get in touch with our print team here.

If you are looking to re-design your school space to accommodate social distancing measures, book an appointment with our Furniture and Interiors Specialists here.