The document " Strategies for school reopenings during the COVID-19 pandemic" indicates health strategies to consider for the reopening of schools.
The guide, published by the Inter-American Development Bank, considers the essential health considerations that must be present to ensure safe and clean spaces for students and teachers in the return to school following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The four considerations indicated by the document are as follows:
- Ensure social distancing;
- Keep schools clean and disinfected;
- Ensure that students and teachers enter school healthy and stay healthy;
- Provide easy access to hand washing facilities
Each criterion has a number of strategies necessary to ensure its correct compliance.
The first consideration’s strategy proposes a gradual or staggered reopening in schools to prevent contagion. With a gradual reopening, students would see their hours of face-to-face teaching reduced to complement their courses through online platforms, a modality that had to be adopted since the COVID-19 outbreak and closure of schools and universities since March.
The IDB proposes that the measures be different according to the geographical area occupied by the school, starting the reopening in rural areas or with low population density may be a viable alternative, as these areas suffer from difficulties in providing distance education.
Stagger arrival and departure times from school and increase the space between desks to avoid close contacts between students and teachers.
Other measures included by the IDB in its series of strategies include: canceling excursion activities and assemblies that include multiple groups, avoiding bringing students together in common areas, restricting clumping in hallways and bathrooms, and finally educating staff, students, and families so that the rules of each school are respected.
As for consideration B, which promotes the intensification of disinfection and cleaning of spaces, it is included to provide cleaning kits to the cleaning staff and provide them with training. Routine cleaning and disinfection will be more careful and intense on the return, which is why teaching students and other educational staff must be trained to keep their space clean and disinfected (desks, chairs and tables).
Other important recommendations are the use of natural ventilation, opening doors and windows regularly to increase air circulation; increase in grooming staff; and the establishment of a protocol if a positive case of COVID-19 is detected in the school community,which must include cancelling classes for 2 to 5 days, so that the authorities can determine what the recommendations are.
Criterion C, which refers to the health of students and teachers, recommends the implementation of hand-washing protocols as a routine, for example, every two hours, in addition, to urge students and teachers who do not feel good stay at home. These strategies include creating posters and posters around the school so parents, students, and teachers can view that information.
Other points include the adoption of flexible policies for disease-goers and the promotion of the use of masks among students and teachers.
Point D, indicates the actions to be taken in the pre-return schools, such as checking the conditions of the baths and sinks, the conditioning of the infrastructure is recommended to ensure the correct sanitation conditions in the schools. Schools must have sufficient water and access to hand soap.
These measures will play a critical role in the safe return to schools and to foster new realities about cleanliness and social estrangement measures in schools.
We invite you to read the full document at the following link: