COVID-19 is on the minds of almost everyone right now. An initial outbreak that began in Wuhan, China has become a worldwide pandemic and a national emergency.
As the number of cases continues to grow, schools in the US are wondering what the best course of action is. While some schools have already decided to close, the CDC says that isn’t necessary for everyone.
Coronavirus in Schools
Coronavirus in schools is not a matter of if but a matter of when. Luckily, the majority of children with covid-19 have reported mild symptoms. Children with underlying medical conditions and suppressed immune systems are at a higher risk to suffer from more severe symptoms though.
Schools are an area where kids are in close contact, sharing supplies, and not always following the best hygiene, so it’s definitely a high-risk area.
Preparedness for COVID-19
When there are no known cases in the community where a school is located, all a school can do is be prepared. Preparing in a school includes things like:
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces more often
- Discouraging the use of shared supplies or equipment
- Cancelling any non-essential gatherings and events
- Remind children the importance of hand hygiene and review what proper hand hygiene looks like
- Provide hand sanitizer in classrooms
- Encourage students and staff who don’t feel well to stay home
Mitigate Moderate Community Spread
If there are no known cases within the school population but there are a moderate number of cases locally, the school should begin practicing social distancing techniques. This means cutting down the number of students in one area at one time. Coordinate with local health officials to learn other strategies you can use to limit the spread of the virus. Encourage immunocompromised students or staff and families at high-risk to complete schoolwork from home.
Manage Significant Community Spread
If there has been a significant outbreak in the community, the best option is to consider an extended school dismissal. Students can continue to work from home or online during that time, but class time in person poses too high of a risk.
Contact local health officials as well as local and state government officials for guidance and assistance in organizing this change from a traditional classroom setting.
Changing the day to day routine in a school to prepare for coronavirus may seem like an inconvenience, but the lives that will be saved make it all well worth it! Stress to your students and staff that this is a serious situation and preparing properly may help prevent more severe measures.
In the event that a patient or child qualifies for COVID-19 testing, they can always follow up with COVID-19 testing at AFC Urgent Care Bedford. We are working with Quest Laboratories to provide efficient and affordable testing for patients of all ages.