With some states ordering the reopening of schools in the US, school officials should have plans to ensure the children are safe while attending in-person classes. Even though the number of vaccines the US administered reached 260 million, vaccines for kids are not available.
At this point, schools need to implement measures to protect the health of the children. But the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) said that children under 10 years old are less likely to become infected with the virus. Despite this, it’s still important for schools to implement minimum health standards while the children are in school.
Schools should plan for in-person classes for the students since they learn best in a classroom setting. This also means that school authorities should work with public health officials to ensure the children’s safety while attending in-person classes.
Why are In-Person Classes Ideal?
Studies show that schools can open to in-person classes safely. In-person classes teach the children how to socialize. They also gain emotional skills while attending classes in school. They also have access to support services and exercise facilities at the school.
The school also provides an enriching and stimulating environment while their parents are at work. The children can also get healthy meals and access to the internet. Additionally, in-person classes are ideal for children who have no internet connection or a computer at home.
While in-person classes offer many benefits for the children, schools should take into account that some parents may not be keen on sending their children to school in the middle of a pandemic. In these cases, schools should provide these parents with the option of letting their children online.
They can even attend classes virtually while his classes are inside the classroom. The teachers can also send enrichment activities to help them with their lessons. Providing links to elementary school English enrichment programs online is another option. This allows these students to enhance their skills since they cannot participate in class activities while learning from home.
What Can the Schools Do?
Eliminating the risk of the virus is not possible at this time unless everyone is vaccinated. Due to this, schools should still implement safety measures to protect the children. They should make sure everyone in the school is wearing face masks.
The school should also make sure all the adults wear face masks that cover their mouth and nose. The face masks should fit well and be worn properly to prevent the spread of the virus. They should set an example to the children, who may be tempted to remove it when no one is watching. With the adults acting as role models, all the children should wear face masks with no exceptions.
The students should also practice physical distancing. The CDC states that K-12 students should stay at least three feet away from each other in the school. They should also continue to wear masks. On the other hand, middle school and high school students should have at least six feet of space between each other while inside the classroom. Using outdoor spaces for instruction is also advisable. The students can also eat meals outdoors to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Instead of the students moving from one classroom to another, the school can ask the teachers to do it. This reduces crowding in the hallways in between classes. The students can also eat at their desks or outdoors. The teachers can also leave the classroom doors open to reduce the need to touch the doorknobs. Opening the windows whenever possible also enhances air circulation in the classroom. Fans can also promote air circulation.
Testing and Temperature Checks
Since it’s not feasible to check the students’ temperatures every day, the school can enlist the help of the families. The parents can take the temperature of the students when they appear sick and keep them home if they have a fever with a temperature of at least 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
The school should also screen the teachers and staff every week. Schools can also implement student screening measures if the students live in communities with many coronavirus cases. While children have lower chances of getting infected when compared to adults, the school should still have a plan ready if this happens.
Schools should quarantine staff or students who come into close contact with persons. The quarantine period should follow the guidelines set by local public officials.
In-person classes offer a lot of benefits for the learning process, especially for underprivileged students. With this, schools should implement measures to protect the children when they start attending in-person classes.