Quick Guide to Implementing New Health and Hygiene Guidelines
Continuing our deep dive into safely reopening, today we’re looking at the education industry. Read on to see our recommended products and procedures schools need to safely get back to class.
According to the CDC revised interim guidelines, schools are asked to continue to collaborate, share information and review plans with local health officials to help protect the whole school community. School plans should be designed to complement other community mitigation strategies to protect high–risk populations and the healthcare system and minimize disruption to teaching and learning and protect students and staff from social stigma and discrimination.
Students, teachers and faculty should social distance whenever possible which means avoiding close contact with others.
- Arrival, dismissal and recess happen on staggered schedules and through specific doors to promote physical distancing.
- Students eat lunch at their desks. Those old enough to switch classes move with the same cohort every day – or teachers move around while students stay put – to discourage mingling with new groups.
- Teachers and other education staff at higher risk of contracting viruses continue to teach from home, while younger or healthier educators teach in-person.
- Add space in the classroom and between desks with room dividers and partitions, like plastic protection screens, whiteboard divider partitions and clear mobile dividers from Ghent. Another option is to incorporate cleanable desk and room dividers – like the Concertina and desk dividers from Lumeah.
- Floor markings are a good way to encourage and remind everyone of distancing. This can easily be achieved by using a high quality and durable vibrantly colored tape, like Duck Brand Duck Tape. You can also create a traffic-flow pattern on the floor with tape.
Everyone should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially during key times (like before preparing and serving food, eating and after using the restroom) when people are likely to get and spread germs.
- We recommend stocking bathrooms and other handwashing stations with antimicrobial hand soap as much as possible. We like the convenient wall dispensers and foaming hand soap from Dial.
- Single-use disposable towels are one of the safest options for drying hands. We recommend using a sustainable choice for paper products, like 100% Recycled Folded Paper Towels from Marcal. They also offer 100% recycled toilet paper and giant roll towels.
- Hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol should be offered if soap and water are not immediately available. We also recommend putting hand sanitizer throughout the school to encourage students and staff to use it often. Dial offers gel and foam hand sanitizers, as well as moisturizing options.
Disinfection / Sanitization
High-traffic areas like the teachers’ lounge, lunchroom and restrooms should be cleaned with soap and water and then disinfected.
- Cleaning and disinfecting should be frequent (multiple times per day) with an emphasis on frequently touched hard non-porous surfaces.
- Use an EPA-approved disinfectant that meets CDC requirements for use and against viruses, bacteria and other airborne and bloodborne pathogens. Lysol and Zep both offer a variety of cleaning products like disinfectant spray, all-purpose cleaner (with and without bleach), no-rinse floor disinfectant, antibacterial cleaner and wipes to help with cleaning, disinfection and sanitization.
To prevent illness, students, teachers and other faculty should implement extra precautions that promote wellness in and around the school.
- Students and staff should be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like facemasks, gloves and face shields in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Medline and Curad both carry a variety of face masks, face shields and gloves. Curad also carries a variety of first aid kits.
- The school should require mandatory temperature checks upon arrival. Medline offers contactless thermometers. New technology, such as OneSscreen GoSafe, is also emerging that offers stationary body temperature and facial recognition scanners to enhance health and safety measures. These more robust systems can provide integration with attendance tracking for students. And the facial recognition scanners allow for easy visual detection to determine compliance with mask wearing protocols.
- Air filters in AC units and air purifiers may need to be changed more regularly. The longer a filter is in place, the more dirt, dust and allergens are trapped clogging the filter and decreasing their efficiency. Ideal offers a robust air purifier system removes 99.9% of pathogen viruses, bacteria, mold spores, and air pollutants
- Encourage everyone to use their own learning tools. If sharing is necessary, refer to the disinfection and sanitization rules.
- Provide single-use supplies like paper towels and food service items whenever possible.
Additional details and resources can be found in the full Safe X Secure White paper.
If you would like more information about any of our recommended products, email us at [email protected]. Include your name, business name, location(s) and contact information and a Highlands representative will be in touch with you.