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Road Map for K-12 Education

Nine Areas for Intervention in K-12 Schools Summer, 2020 V.1.0


Nine Areas for Intervention in K-12 Schools There are a variety of strategies for reducing viral transmission of COVID-19 in schools. Airborne spread, the dominant viral transmission pathway, is highly virulent but also touching contaminated surfaces can indirectly spread the virus between people. Asymptomatic carriers can transmit the virus through these pathways, even if they do not appear to be visibly sick. Also, 50% of SARS-CoV-2 carriers shed the virus in fecal matter. We recommend that all schools increase ventilation, encourage hand washing and sanitizing, and support social distancing.

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Nine Areas for Intervention in K-12 Schools

01 ― Classroom nj  Expect students to break the rules of physical distancing while in school, either on purpose or by accident. Prepare a holistic public health approach to keeping your students and staff safe. nj  Provide teacher with a checklist or action plan for keeping their educational space healthy and safe for all. 1 nj  Have students enter and exit the room in order of their desk’s distance from the door to minimize passing in close physical distance. nj  Use tape, stickers, and signage to indicate traffic flow, physical distances, and unused desks. nj  Designate a sanitation station near the door with hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, paper towels, and a waste bin. nj  Provide additional receptacles for waste from cleaning and used PPE. nj  Provide 6 feet of clear teaching space at the front. nj  Remove desks directly in front of the teacher station. nj  Provide a plexiglass shield at the teacher’s desk. ‒  Note: some state governments have suggested that the teacher face the same direction, i.e. away from the students. We are Educational Adaptation

Health Promotion

evaluating whether this is feasible for teaching and classroom management.

Risk Mitigation

Authors / Summer - 2020 Erika Eitland , ScD, MPH Research Analyst

Brad Rogers Planning and Strategies Senior Consultant 3


Strategies

01 ― Classroom (continued) nj  Turn desks to face in the same direction (rather than facing each other) to reduce transmission caused from virus-containing droplets (e.g. from talking, coughing, sneezing).2 nj  Where possible, place desks against the wall to maximize capacity and reduce risk of physical proximity on one side. nj  If you do not keep desks in place to promote distancing, create a zone to stack unused chairs and desks that have been removed. nj  Clean student desks before and after each use. ‒  Students and teachers may not be able to use disinfectant and disinfecting wipes due to local policies that prevent them from using harsh chemicals, so check state guidance before suggesting specific products. nj  Involve students in the cleaning process when possible, allowing them to be a part of the solution. nj  Clean teacher desks between every class period if teachers are rotating between classrooms.

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Nine Areas for Intervention in K-12 Schools

02 ― Cafeteria Due to density and timing, it will be difficult for lunch time to function as it previously did while maintaining social distancing. Additionally, these spaces may need to be repurposed as instruction space. Improve Layout

Simplify Operations

nj  Provide a 3-foot radius around all occupiable

nj  Have students eat in their classrooms, if

seats, so students are 6 feet away from their

possible. While this may mitigate the spread

classmates. If multiple students would need to

of the virus, it provides more opportunity for

sit at the same seat in different lunch waves,

pests to infiltrate. Establish a “pest patrol”

students should be encouraged to eat in their

where students clean up after themselves and

classroom.

classmates to earn rewards.

nj  Mark available and unavailable positions on the tables using tape and/or signage. nj  Add shields at payment and checkout points. nj  Designate sanitizing and hand washing areas. nj  Post signage reminding students of healthy behaviors and hand washing. nj  Consider creating instructional areas in the cafeteria to increase the teaching capacity of the facility.

nj  Provide individually wrapped portions, while being mindful of food packaging waste. Suggestions for minimizing packaging include wrapping sandwiches in paper. Limiting the use of plastic clamshells, and encouraging the use of personal water bottles. nj  Encourage students to bring reusable wares that they can wash at school or at home to limit the amount of waste. nj  Offer online ordering on your school website or app to request cafeteria meals in advance and speed up meal pick-up. nj  Deliver meals directly to classrooms to reduce cafeteria density and opportunities for cross-contamination. Carts or cooler bags may need to be purchased to support this change in food service.

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Strategies

03 ― Gym / Physical Education nj  Whenever possible, hold PE classes outside to allow for more circulation and maximum physical distance between students. nj  Reduce the size of gym classes. nj  Avoid any activities that would bring students into close physical contact. nj  Avoid activities that would require multiple students to touch or handle the same equipment (e.g. basketball). nj  When activities include higher level of movement and heavier breathing, increase the distance between students to 10 feet. nj  Mark visual indicators on the floor and/or walls to illustrate 10-foot increments. nj  Disinfect equipment after each use. nj  Provide sanitizing areas and access to handwashing nj  Post signage reminding students of healthy behaviors and handwashing. nj  Consider repurposing the gym for instructional space—for teaching, larger lectures, art, maker spaces, project saces, or virtual learning—to increase the teaching capacity of the building, as large events will not likely be taking place.

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Nine Areas for Intervention in K-12 Schools

04 ― Corridors and Commons nj  Maintaining distances of 6 feet between students in corridors may not be feasible for all schools. nj  Mark 6-foot distances on the floor and/or walls to provide visual indicators for students and teachers as they move through the corridor. nj  If possible, discontinue the use of lockers and cubbies to reduce irregular circulation patterns until physical distancing recommendations have been lifted. nj  If it is not possible to discontinue the use of lockers, determine which students have lockers 6 feet apart and schedule times for locker access based on where student lockers are located. nj  Post signage reminding students of healthy behaviors and handwashing. nj  Provide sanitizing stations throughout corridors and common spaces. nj  DO NOT institute any corridor usage policies or circulation paths that would disrupt emergency egress routes, prevent students from seeking the nearest exit, or confuse them in the event of an emergency. nj  If the school is multilevel, consider designating stairs for up traffic, or down traffic, but not both, with the exception being emergencies.

05 ― Auditorium nj  Reference government guidelines for recommended gathering sizes for events. nj  If seating is loose, arrange seats to maintain 6-foot separation. nj  If seating is fixed, mark or block off seats as unavailable to maintain 6-foot separation. nj  Provide sanitizing stations throughout the space. nj  Post signage reminding students of healthy behaviors and handwashing. nj  Consider repurposing areas of the auditorium for instructional space until physical distancing guidelines are lifted, as large events will not likely be taking place.

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Strategies

06 ― Specialty Classrooms (Art, Science) nj  For items that cannot be washed between uses (e.g. paint brushes, eyedroppers, etc.), provide each student with an individual set. A plastic labeled bin for supplies works well. nj  Move art and science outdoors when possible to free up classroom space. nj  Provide individually package manipulatives like clay so students are not reaching into a shared resource. nj  Clean shared equipment such as microscopes and scales between uses. If cleaning is not feasible, do not share equipment. nj  For music classes, wind instruments should not be played indoors and instruments should not be shared.

07 ― Bathroom nj  Post reminders for basic hygiene tips, including 20-second hand washing. Tip: Help students measure 20-seconds by encouraging them to hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice while washing. nj  Use portable air purifiers. Note that these may be more effective in restrooms than in other parts of school, because the volume of the space is relatively small and noise may not be a concern. Increasing the filtration of the air may help reduce the risk of transmission by bioaerosols. nj  Verify bathroom exhaust. Viral particles can be shed in stool, so ensuring that exhaust ventilation is functioning properly in bathrooms is an important control strategy. Open windows when possible. nj  Provide sanitizing wipes for individuals to wipe down doorknobs, toilet seats, and sinks prior to their own use, both for their comfort and to increase the frequency of cleaning. nj  Add physical barriers, such as plastic flexible screens, between bathroom sinks, especially when they cannot be at least 6 feet apart. nj  Create Bathroom Scheduling ‒  Develop a specific schedule for hand washing and bathroom use so lines do not develop and bathrooms do not get crowded. ‒  Avoid taking multiple classes to bathrooms at once (e.g., avoid having all classes use the bathroom right after lunch or recess).3

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Nine Areas for Intervention in K-12 Schools

08 ― Outdoor Spaces nj  Green Schoolyards America provides guidance on creating outdoor learning environments and the benefits of outdoor spaces when coping with stress. 4 nj  Under physical distancing guidelines, most schools will only have capacity for 60% of students. Outdoor spaces will serve an important function as an area for safe socialization, physical education, and informal learning environments during good weather days. nj  Cleaning considerations: ‒  “Outdoor areas generally require normal routine cleaning and do not require disinfection. Spraying disinfectant on sidewalks and in parks is not an efficient use of disinfectant supplies and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID19 to the public. You should maintain existing cleaning and hygiene practices for outdoor areas.5” —U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

09 ― Modular Classrooms nj  When space and resources are available, modular buildings can provide additional workspaces for staff or classrooms for students. nj  Modulars should be carefully selected to reduce adverse exposures such as formaldehyde, which can be found in wood paneling.

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Stay green while acting clean. Addressing this human health concern should not (and need not) be at the expense of the planet. We recommend reducing waste and single-use items wherever possible. Reposition waste and recycling stations to capture materials where they are being disposed of, such as the classroom or hallway.

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Nine Areas for Intervention in K-12 Schools

Currently designing or building a new school? Classrooms / Specialty Classrooms nj  Implement small learning communities or cohorts to reduce exposure to corridor traffic by limiting the need to change classes. nj  Use individual nesting/stackable desks rather than tables for multiple students to allow flexibility of storage, spacing, and arrangement. nj  Ensure digital connectivity and interactive screens in case full student population is not able to return to school. nj  Consider virtual spaces that can provide experiences when travel or field trips are not allowed.

Corridors and Commons nj  Incorporate automation and voice activation tools (lighting, elevators). nj  Use indoor air sensing technologies to monitor areas with poor air quality (e.g. due to increased levels of VOC, carbon dioxide, particulates).

Bathroom nj  Install touchless fixtures (door, soap, faucet, toilets). nj  Design door-free restroom entries or provide hands-free door opening.

Cafeteria nj  Distribute dining options instead of a single large cafeteria, locate multiple food service options near classrooms or small group areas.

Outdoor Spaces nj  Move learning into fresh air by planning outdoor learning spaces with amenities.

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― References ¹ https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/schools-checklist-teachers.pdf ² https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/socialdistance.pdf ³ https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/socialdistance.pdf ⁴ http://www.greenschoolyards.org/covid-learn-outside ⁵ https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html

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Nine Areas for Intervention in K-12 Schools

Takeaway ―

There are a variety of strategies for reducing viral transmission of COVID-19 in schools. Airborne spread, the dominant viral transmission pathway, is highly virulent but also touching contaminated surfaces can indirectly spread the virus between people. Asymptomatic carriers can transmit the virus through these pathways, even if they do not appear to be visibly sick. Also, 50% of SARS-CoV-2 carriers shed the virus in fecal matter. We recommend that all schools increase ventilation, encourage hand washing and sanitizing, and support social distancing.

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We are here to assist you in your return to school. For more information, please contact: K12Education@perkinswill.com

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Road Map for K-12 Education - Nine Areas for Intervention in K-12 Schools  

Road Map for K-12 Education - Nine Areas for Intervention in K-12 Schools  

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