Schools across the globe impact 1.4 billion students.
Countries where risks have declined, schools are beginning to reopen.
While no other country has been hit as hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as the United States, the early stories of reopening schools in other countries signal a path forward.
But opening safely, experts agree, isn’t just about the adjustments a school makes. It’s also about how much virus is circulating in the community, which affects the likelihood that students and staff will bring COVID-19 into their classrooms. “Outbreaks in schools are inevitable,” says Otto Helve, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. “But there is good news” [safer school opening can possibly happen] where community infection rates are low and officials are standing by to identify and isolate cases and close contacts. (ww.sciencemag.org)
Schools around the world are taking a number of precautionary measures, such as:
- Students spaced six feet apart
- School open through several different entrances to prevent crowding
- Staggered drop-off times Parents are not allowed inside the school
- Children sanitize their hands and footwear before entering the building
- Not permitted to have physical contact with peers or staff
- Temperature checks on arrival
- Teachers are holding some classes outdoors and playgrounds are closed
- Children are required to wash their hands every hour
- wear protective masks while in school, but not in the classroom
- Lunch: cafeterias, students are assigned seats and tables are spaced at least Three feet apart;or cafeterias have closed, and students eat in their classrooms
- Class and play group sizes are smaller now
- Staff disinfect toys and classrooms twice a day
- Staff with underlying health conditions and those who are over 65 are being asked to stay home