COVID Fall Planning For School Leaders

By PrinciPal Connection posted 05-21-2020 10:30

Part of what makes a good leader is being able to see where your organization needs to be in the future and taking steps today to guide it there. That is part of what has made the current situation so difficult to navigate — no one quite knows what the future will look like — but it’s not all bad news. We hope the following helps informing the difficult decisions that lay ahead. As additional information becomes available we will continue to update this post.

Fall 2020

The Centers for Diseases Control has newly released interim guidance on what measures schools must take once they open their doors again. You can access a PDF of that plan here. School specific guidance starts around page 47. Unlike Illinois, the CDC has a 3 phase reopening plan (page 7 in this document). The following recommendations for schools are either encouraged or required during all 3 stages:
  • Space seating/desks to at least six feet apart.
  • Turn desks to face in the same direction (rather than facing each other), or have students sit on only one side of tables, spaced apart.
  • Close communal use spaces such as dining halls and playgrounds if possible; otherwise stagger use and disinfect in between use.
  • If a cafeteria or group dining room is typically used, serve meals in classrooms instead. Serve individually plated meals and hold activities in separate classrooms and ensure the safety of children with food allergies.
  • Stagger arrival and drop-off times or locations, or put in place other protocols to limit close contact with parents or caregivers as much as possible.
  • Create social distance between children on school buses (for example, seating children one child per seat, every other row) where possible.
  • Ensure that student and staff groupings are as static as possible by having the same group of children stay with the same staff (all day for young children, and as much as possible for older children).
  • Work with school administrators, nurses, and other healthcare providers to identify an isolation room or area to separate anyone who exhibits COVID-like symptoms.
  • If feasible, conduct daily health checks (e.g. temperature screening and/or symptoms checking) of staff and students safely, respectfully, as well as in accordance with any applicable privacy laws or regulations. Confidentiality should be maintained.