Keeping a distance, wearing a mask, and frequent handwashing are now all part of our regular routines based on the AAP’s COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools. You and your students will encounter many changes this school year. For teachers who will be returning to the classroom, it may be helpful to think ahead about what school will look like to ensure you feel prepared.
Here are a few suggestions for what to expect and how you might set up your classroom this upcoming school year.
Longer Entry and Exit
Be prepared for a different pace at school. For some teachers, this will be a blessing. Not having to worry about kids rushing down the hall, or jumping out of their seats to bolt to lunch, might make for a less stressful experience.
It’s likely the time between classes will be increased to allow for safe movement in school hallways, and you may wish to take a staggered approach to students exiting the classroom once the bell rings. You might dismiss the students by row or by first letter of last name, for example.
Keeping your classroom clean will be even more of a priority this upcoming year. Students will need to wipe down their desks after every class as well as frequent handwashing or using hand sanitizer.
The Time Timer can be helpful in cleaning up at the end of lessons, by setting the visual timer for the last few minutes of class for clean-up with students. Making it a fun challenge and a consistent part of your students’ routine will help create safe habits inside and outside of the classroom.
Handwashing has always been important in the education setting, but now it is even more important! According to the CDC, “handwashing education and access to soap in schools can help improve attendance.” For handwashing to be effective it has to be for the full 20 second duration recommended by the CDC. Time Timer has the perfect tool to help!
The new touch-less handwashing timer, the Time Timer WASH is a 30 second visual timer to help children grasp the concept and duration of proper handwashing. Broken down into 3 simple steps, all ages and abilities can ensure they are properly washing their hands. Try implementing the Time Timer WASH into your classroom this school year to help!
Keep the Desks Spaced
Increased spacing between desks will be the new normal in classroom settings, to ensure proper social distancing is followed.
Keep Crossover at a Minimum
As you consider your classroom layout, you will want to structure class so that crossover between students is kept at a minimum. It could be useful to set up tape on the ground to give students a guide through your classroom, a long path that moves through the desks so that, when entering or exiting, students go single file on the line as they enter and exit. Assign seats for the students too to reduce crossover at the beginning of class. Helping students to know where to go and what’s expected will help keep everyone safe.
Remember to Set an Example
While you can’t control the actions of others, you can set the example to your students that taking these precautions is in the interest of keeping them and others safe. Ensuring students see your attitude that classroom cleanup, frequent handwashing, and proper social distancing protocols are important will help to guide your students in their behavior outside the classroom too.
We know there are many considerations as some teachers go back to the classroom or prepare to return to remote teaching, and we wish you and your students a happy and safe school year ahead, as you continue to inspire and educate!