As of April 29th, forty-three states have announced statewide school closures through the remainder of the school year. While teachers are continuing to develop eLearning lesson plans and engaging with students, school administrators around the country are trying to wrap their heads around the post COVID-19 landscape for K-12. So many unknowns with every scenario dependent on the country’s ability to contain the spread of the coronavirus, and predicated on federal and state guidelines.
Now, more than ever, there is a heightened focus on everyone's health. Parents can’t wait to get back to “normal”, but are nervous to send kids to school unless it’s safe. With the uncertainty of how the situation will change in the next few months, administrators are searching for ways to prepare for the day when students and faculty return back to school. What will the reopening of the facilities look like? What is the best way to keep their community safe?
Based on interviews with public health experts, education officials, and educators around the country, an NPR.org article 9 Ways Schools Will Look Different When (And If) They Reopen outlines potential student and faculty health management scenarios once school is back in session. When developing protocols to transition from eLearning back to in-person instruction, school administrators must not only consider the health and safety of children, but also think of their teachers, custodians, food service workers, and school support staff.
Magnus Health helps more than 700 schools manage their student health, and we are in a unique position to hear what these schools are doing now to prepare for the return of their students. There is discussion regarding potential new health requirements and safety measures for schools, such as: wearing masks, temperature checks, increased hand-washing, frequent sanitization, and social distancing rules enforced for students and staff. Many schools are starting to collect coronavirus-related health status information from students and faculty, asking if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or have fallen ill during the quarantine.
In an effort to help schools and parents navigate these uncharted waters, our team has put together a COVID-19 Resource list and published many blog posts… but, we were also looking to facilitate a discussion for school staff regarding how they are preparing for the future in light of COVID-19. As a result, Magnus hosted a webinar “Managing Student Health in a COVID-19 World”, providing a platform for an idea exchange for school Health professionals and an open conversation regarding the challenges that lie ahead. Since this session was so well received, we would like to share the webinar recording with everyone who may benefit from this discussion, along with the resources referenced during the webinar:
- District Administration: How will schools reopen safely in fall 2020?
- CDC: Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools
- CDC: FAQs for K-12 Administrators, Teachers, and Parents
- CDC: Guidance on Temperature Screening for Children
- CDC: Pandemic Flu Checklist: K-12 School Administrators
- AASA: Student Privacy During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- NASN: Ideas for School Nurse Activities During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- NASN: Considerations for School Nurses Regarding Care of Students and Staff that Become Ill at School or Arrive Sick
- Education Week: What School Nurses Should (and should not) Do During the Coronavirus Outbreak
During the webinar, we conducted 2 polls to see how administrators and health staff in attendance are preparing for the reopening of their schools. Here is what we learned…
Poll #1: Which of the scenarios has your school considered for the reopening? 195 of 483 attendees responded to this poll:
- Stepped-up health & hygiene measures - 91.3 % (178 responses)
- Staggered schedules/Modified schedules - 69.2% (135 responses)
- No assemblies, sports games, or parent-teacher conferences - 55.4% (108 responses)
- Class sizes of 12 or fewer - 45.1% (88 responses)
Poll #2: Does your school plan to collect coronavirus-related health status information from students and faculty? 244 of 483 attendees responded to this poll:
- Maybe - 69.3% (169 responses)
- Yes - 25.4% (62 responses)
- No - 4.9% (12 responses)
- Just from students - 0.4% (1 response)
As administrators work through the logistics of the next school year by considering the various scenarios and developing new health protocols, they’re focused on ensuring a healthy environment for their students and faculty. School nurses are front line healthcare care providers and often have the role of infectious disease surveillance. Health staff or administrators who manage student health at their school, need the appropriate tools and data to help them identify trends and spread of diseases/viruses. A digital Student Health Record (SHR) management solution such as Magnus, streamlines health data collection and produces reports to ensure compliance.
As a company dedicated to providing schools with digital tools to make student health a priority and to ensure their safety, we are here for you! Please let us know if you would like to see how our Magnus software can help your school navigate the post COVID-19 landscape. We wish you and your students good health!