Back to school health and safety is a priority for every parent this coming August, so we are here to share a helpful article from IDEA Public Schools.
The safety, health and well-being of every IDEA scholar is always our top priority. As we gear up for another great year of learning, in light of COVID-19, IDEA has developed a robust assortment of new safety and health protocols to ensure all students and families feel confident returning to their respective campuses.
To ensure IDEA is prepared to meet the highest safety standards and meet the expectations of families, IDEA consulted with local state and county health officials in addition to conducting several surveys to aid in the planning and implementation of procedures for the new school year.
Based on over 400 focus-group participants, over 4000 bilingual-survey respondents and leading research from the CDC and state health departments, IDEA has established protocols that all teachers, staff, students and parents will be required to adopt to ensure IDEA is prepared to meet the highest safety standards to help safeguard students and staff from COVID-19.
The results are an approach that encompasses personal protective equipment, updated school procedures and protocols, and safety upgrades to campus buildings.
Beginning in August, the following practices will be put into action and deployed on each IDEA campus:
Students who physically come to school will…
Be provided with two reusable cloth masks
Will wear masks when in public spaces (like hallways)
Will stay in the same group & classroom throughout the day
Eat all meals inside the classroom
Receive physical education modified for social distancing
Learn at desks equipped with Plexiglass desk guards and positioned six feet apart from each other
Rotate from classroom to classroom in upper-grade levels (excluding pre-K to 2nd grade)
Ensure active-learning and handwashing breaks occur throughout the day
Wear masks when delivering 1:1 instruction but will be able to remove them during whole-class instruction
IDEA has invested in equipment designed to protect students and staff from exposure to infection or illness. Hand hygiene stations will be located at each point of entry and in every classroom. Floor decals and signs will emphasize safety requirements, and restroom fixtures will be retrofitted with auto-flush kits. New campus entryways will also be established to avoid crowding and expedite campus pick-up and drop-off procedures.
IDEA will also update school arrival, dismissal, and transportation procedures. Arrival and dismissal windows will be extended, with staggered arrival and dismissal times for families. Upon arrival, all staff and students will undergo health screenings—including temperature checks with no-contact thermometers—and visit hand-hygiene stations.
“Our dedicated team is working around the clock to make the transition for students, staff and families as smooth as possible. Every protocol, practice and procedure has been evaluated and adjusted as needed to ensure a safe and strong return to classrooms this fall,” says Layne Fisher, IDEA’s Vice President of Auxiliary Services.
IDEA also announced a plan to ensure each scholar receives access to learning by equipping them with a laptop, computer or tablet for the 2020-2021 school year, at no cost to families. Dubbed IDEA’s 1:1 Program, the program will facilitate direct access to teachers and classwork and keep all scholars on track regardless of where the learning itself is taking place
As schools embark on a new school year, it is more important than ever for families and campuses to improve cooperation and communication. By practicing safety measures at home, speaking to children about what to expect during the school year and why, and exercising patience as schools adjust to new schedules and procedures, together we can all make this school year a great success.
This year may present some unique challenges—our end-goal will always be the same: healthy bodies, healthy minds and happy students.
For more information on IDEA’s safety measures or other issues concerning back to school health and safety, please refer to IDEA’s Back to School webpage: