Reading Now – 5 ways to Practice Social Distancing in Classrooms
5 ways to Practice Social Distancing in Classrooms
Schools have re-opened and social distancing measures should be strictly adhered to.
To ensure continued teaching and learning and to avoid any disruptions in the functioning of the school, it is imperative that schools follow social distancing during school hours and encourage members of the school community to follow social distancing after school hours.
But what does social distancing in educational settings look like in practice?
What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing refers to measures being taken to restrict where and when people gather in order to stop or slow the spread of infectious disease.
Why is it important?
The overall goal of social distancing is to increase the physical space between members of the school community to reduce unintended exposures.
5 ways to Practice Social Distancing in Schools
1. Maintain safe classroom spaces
Rearrange student desks and common seating spaces to maximize the space between students. For example- turn desks to face in the same direction rather than facing each other to reduce transmission, move class outdoors, require students to remain seated in the classroom.
2. Avoid the use of shared or community spaces
Canceling or postponing after school activities like sports practices. Canceling classes or activities that occur during the school day with a high rate of mixing/ contact like P.E, choir, field trips. Limiting lunch to classrooms instead of in common spaces like a school ground
3. Limiting visitors
Do not allow parents or other visitors, restrict vendor access to school
4. Reduced school schedule
Shorter school week or school day. Students come on alternate days. Running two streams- half the classes come during the morning, whereas the rest comes during the afternoon
5. Encourage and reinforce social norms and health etiquette
Ensure availability of appropriate cleaning supplies (e.g disinfectant wipes) for cleaning of high touch surfaces. Reinforce handwashing routines. Asks staff and students to wash hands upon entering and leaving the classroom or other spaces in the school building.
Ensure students and staff wear face masks throughout the school day.
Consider ways to reinforce good hand hygiene. For example. Provide incentives (eg classroom recognition or student of the day) for proper and thorough handwashing.
Ensure students and staff who are sick stay at home