Ten Ways Teachers Can Prepare Themselves and Teach Kids about Safety in School During COVID 19

 

Safety at school is on everyone's minds-especially now during the Pandemic. School systems in our country and worldwide are faced with the challenges of opening safely. Some school systems are going all remote, some are using a hybrid approach, while others are going back in person. No matter which approach is being used, many safety precautions will be set in place as we move forward this school year. There will be lots of tough decisions that we will need to be made in each community. 

As a teacher, I will need to be prepared for all three scenarios and do the following:

-Be sure to stay on top of any COVID 19 updates in the community I teach. 

-Attend lots of training to ensure students' safety. I will need to learn many new school policies as we bring the kiddos back. There will be many safety protocols set in place within our building and across our school district.  I will also need lots of technology training to be ready for remote learning or the hybrid model. I just started the Educator for Fundamental Google training this summer to improve my skills and stay on top of all that Google tools have to offer. 

Visit the Teacher Center to learn more about the training and other possibilities (below).


Google App-Specific Training


-Set up and keep my classroom organized, clean, and safe. As students return, our district has mandated that our students are kept 6 feet apart. Desks will be placed 6 feet apart and facing in the same direction. This will be no easy task. It will be challenging, especially since I teach kindergarten. There will be lots of movement breaks built into our schedule and also opportunities for students to take off their masks in a safe manner. 

-Be sure that you have plenty of hand sanitizer, soaps, disinfectants, extra masks, or whatever you need. Your school system may provide you with most of these supplies, but there may be some things that you may need to bring. Think about the things that you will need to remove from your classroom. Some school districts are having teachers bring home unnecessary supplies to make extra room in the classrooms. There are certain supplies that you may not be able to utilize this year. For example, we can not use fans in our classroom as this may spread the germs. We are encouraged to keep windows open instead. 

- Practice social distancing, proper mask-wearing, and handwashing with the students in the classroom.  Encourage students to practice these skills at home as well. 

-Here is a Steps to Handwashing Routine Poster and digital or in-school activity that I will be doing with the students. It can be printed to be used in the classroom or you can use it on a digital device. I teach the kids to scrub their hands for a full 20 seconds. Sometimes they will sing the Alphabet song, Happy Birthday, or a handwashing song. I tell my students to shut the water off after rinsing with a paper towel so their hands do not go on a dirty faucet. Once cleaned they need to dry their hands thoroughly and throw out their paper towel. 

Steps to Washing Hands Poster and Activity

poster




-Practice social distancing while moving about within your building and your own classroom. Our school plans on staggering the arrival and dismissal times to help alleviate crowds and make it easier to stay 6 feet apart. This will take lots of thought and planning as we teach students how to maneuver about within the building. Students will not be intermingling between classrooms as we have done in the past. We will remain in our own bubble for safety. 

      

-Encourage open and honest conversations about COVID 19- If a student asks if you are nervous or anxious, it is best, to be honest. I will let my students know that it is okay to be a bit anxious, but we are all in this together. We will all work hard together within our school and within our classroom to make school a safe place to be. Students need to know that they are in a safe learning environment. If students feel that their basic safety skills are not met, they may feel on edge, uncomfortable, and unable to focus on learning.  Promoting safety at home, in school, or in the community is so important so kids can explore, learn, and grow. As we discuss safety throughout the year, here is a product I put together to encourage students to share their own ideas. 

Safety Tips- At home, School and in the Community


 


-Be mindful of student's social and emotional well being. Students look up to adults for guidance and how to react under stressful situations. It is important to acknowledge students' levels of concern without panicking. Let students know that they can have a sense of control over the risk of infection by following the safety protocols set in place. There are loads of great YOU tube videos that address COVID 19 in a kid-friendly manner that may alleviate some of their fears. Teachers need to be there to listen carefully to any concerns, be nurturing, provide comfort, and give helpful up to date information in which students can easily relate to and understand. Recognize those subtle signs of distress. Some of the most common ways children show stress is by holding feelings in or letting feelings out by being angry. Watch out for different sleeping or eating patterns. Do you have any students less attentive or disengaged more than usual? Are they getting along with their peers? Are they shying away and wanting to be by themselves. Are they more fidgety than usual? Is there a sudden drop in their school performance? Do you have a student with lots of mood swings? It is so important that we stay connected with our students and provide them with the help, encouragement, and support they need. Reach out to parents/caretakers, councilors, and staff to help support and guide you. 

-Be prepared for things to change quickly. Have a plan in place if you and your students need to go home and be quarantined.  We are unsure of what the future may hold, so it is best to know what is expected of you and your students. 

Stay safe, Be Well, Take Care! 


















































-I will need to be prepared to bring the kids back home if an outbreak or exposure makes it necessary.  







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