Create Your Back-to-Class COVID Checklist
There are so many unanswered questions ahead of us when it comes to reopening our schools during the ongoing Covid-19 health crisis: How can we effectively reduce the risks to our student population? How can we help children to understand the importance of safety measures? How can we encourage students to keep following these special new and frustrating rules, day after day? How can we do our best to protect our youth, our teachers, our school administrators, and our families? What should schools be doing now to get ready for the fall? And how can boards and school district leaders be best prepared for whatever comes next?
The unfortunate truth is that we still know very little about how this disease affects young people, but we do know that it is possible for some children to become very ill and for children to transmit the virus to other family members or adults. Each local government and school system is considering the best options for their students, and how best to reduce the risk as they reopen. Whether the primary strategy is to limit class sizes, stagger hours or days, only open select locations, or delay reopening altogether, the fact remains that at least some students and teachers will eventually have to share space within our learning facilities again soon. That means those spaces must be ready to protect them, and to help them protect themselves. Your students will need extra help to navigate their new learning environment successfully, and you will need tactical expertise to make that safe new environment come to life.
Social distancing is already difficult for adults, and for children it can be all too easy to simply ignore the rules and create new risks of infection. Keeping social distance while waiting in line, in classrooms, in lunchrooms, in restrooms, and in other confined spaces will be difficult for students. And other new rules, like entering and exiting rooms or vehicles through the correct doors, thorough hand-washing, and wearing masks are also likely to cause annoyance and see inconsistent compliance. Even extra-curricular activities will need new rules and new ways of doing things safely.
Repetition is at the heart of practice, and reducing the risk of infection and transmission requires everyone in your school to consistently follow the rules and apply the health safety measures you will have in place. Young students need constant reminders and teachers simply cannot be everywhere at once, so providing visual reminders is paramount to success. But those visual reminders can’t just be generic safety messages designed for adult workplaces. Children will ignore them, or simply not understand them. Creating compliance in children requires a different approach—one that encourages with color and positivity, one that helps them incorporate health safety behaviors into their own development and, when possible, one that aligns with each school’s learning approach or ethos.
The time is now to begin exploring the options and generating your plan for reopening schools. No matter your strategic plan, your tactics will include new environmental signage, new partitions, and other kinds of physical structures and visual guidance for students and teachers. Moveable and fixed protective barriers, where-to-sit graphics, framed social distancing reminders, personal protective gear, restroom clings for hand-washing procedure, and much more: Phase 3 has quickly become a major resource for COVID-19 health safety materials, and we proudly offer a growing inventory of customizable health safety resources for academic environments.
Download your own copy of our School Reopening Planning Tool and start exploring the options now. Phase 3 Marketing and Communications can help you create confidence and move with efficiency as you prepare to reopen your school while reducing the risk for your students and teachers.
We’re not health experts, but we’ve learned a lot very quickly by partnering with school districts to create materials that can encourage good behaviors and minimize risk in learning environments. If you're looking for consultation or guidance as your school reopens, give us a shout!