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Health Protocols to Keep Post-Covid

A few years ago, when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, few expected this would get more than a passing mention in 2022; didn't it seem so? Against the odds, the reality of Covid-19 is still here with us. Covid-19 remains a relevant topic for teachers, students, and administrators everywhere.

Undoubtedly, dealing with the aftermath of Covid-19 can mean the difference between continued learning and a sudden break in school. On the other hand, adherence to the laid down health protocols means life; this is sobering! So, what can school community members do to deal with this situation? How can teachers and students remain safe in the school environment?

We need to know which health protocols to keep post-Covid.

Basic Hygiene is Key

Working in the education field, you know that kids are still learning to care for their bodies; this includes basic hygiene skills to reduce the risk of spreading infection. 

According to the latest OSHA recommendations, the prescribed guidelines encourage administrators to adopt practical infection prevention and control measures for their schools. Further, administrators should be keenly alert to the evolving nature of the Covid-19 virus and other similar infections and effective preventive measures.

Here are some ideas to keep your staff and students safe:

  • Encourage staff, teachers, and students to wear a face mask.
  • Encourage hand washing for at least 20 seconds.
  • Alternatively, supply an alcoholic hand sanitizer throughout campus. The sanitizer should be composed of 60-70% active isopropanol.
  • Encourage hand washing if someone touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact, and encourage outdoor activities when possible.
  • If someone is sick, encourage them to stay home. This includes students and all staff and teachers.
  • Remember personal risk factors and the impact some families may be facing. The following high-risk groups should take extra precautions: older adults and those with underlying conditions (chronic heart or kidney conditions, diabetes, immune deficiencies, obesity, or liver disease).

Keeping basic hygiene practices a part of your campus culture will help keep the risk of Covid-19 and other infections down.

Recognize the Tell-Tale Symptoms of Covid-19

Staff members and teachers should ensure they know the full range of Covid-19 symptoms. Some of the most common systems include:

  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • General fatigue

The less common symptoms include:

  • Pains and aches
  • Headache
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Discoloration of toes and fingers
  • A skin rash
  • Diarrhea

Any school community member who feels unwell should seek immediate medical attention from the school nurse before being released.

Isolate, Report, and Test

The Centers for Disease Control advises education sector administrators to identify and isolate potentially infectious persons to protect teachers, workers, students, and public members. If a student or staff member is suspected of being exposed to Covid-19, you should isolate them until they can go home. 

Each school site should create an isolation room for those who can't leave the location immediately (this can be a single-occupancy restroom or an unused classroom). Individuals are kept here until they can go; more than likely, students will use this area as they await a guardian to pick them up. 

Additionally, administrators should devise a system for teachers, workers, or students to report if they have Covid-19 symptoms or get sick. Such a system should involve using a systematic screening method prescribed by the CDC. Many techniques include online reporting or phone calls to a dedicated phone line.

If a student or staff member goes home due to Covid-19 symptoms, do not allow them back on campus without a Negative Covid Test. Administrators will need to set specific guidelines on which tests are acceptable, among other stipulations, to return to campus. 

Test or Observe Self-Isolation Protocols

When a student, staff member, or teacher is sent home with Covid-19 symptoms, a Negative Covid Test needs to be returned, or individuals can choose to self-isolate for the current recommended number of days. 

For example, take steps to self-isolate and stay at home for ten days (from the onset of the symptoms). Even after the symptoms cease, most medical professionals advise patients to continue isolating themselves for another three days.

Keep Updated with Reliable, Trusted Sources

Navigating our world post-Covid can be a headache, but to keep all staff, teachers, and students safe, it is necessary to have a school health plan and follow it.

Every school should keep up-to-date with the latest information outlining practical health protocols from reliable, trusted sources. Such sources include WHO, OSHA, and the CDC.

Written by John O. Ndar
Education World Contributor
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