November 25th, 2020
Traditional classrooms are undergoing complete overhauling as schools reopen across the globe. After remaining shut for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are welcoming students yet again. However, as studentsreturn back to their schools, well-being at school amid the pandemic is a primary concern. Not only for students and parents but also teachers, safety at school is of the highest priority in the epidemic.
As a teacher, you want your students to stay safe in the school amid high risks of COVID-19 transmissions. Further, you should also look after your safety as you return to the classroom to teach. Also, COVID-19 is a contagious virus, and from one infected person, it can end up making a chain of infections. Thus, you must ensure the well-being of students as well as yourself in a classroom environment.
In the United States, schools in Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi became clusters of COVID-19 outbreaks within a few days of reopening. Moreover, as many as 22 schools in Mississippi reported positive cases in children and staff members. These cases were reported a few days after schools reopened. This gives you an idea of how important it is to take precautions in schools to prevent the spread of the virus. If schools and teachers are careless, the institute can turn into a COVID cluster in no time. Thus, any shortcomings in health measures at school can put students as well as staff members at high risk.
As a teacher, you are also the leader of your class, and your students follow your instruction with diligence. So, you can make a big difference to the health and safety measures that a classroom follows. You can ensure high safety and all the appropriate precautions related to COVID-19 at a classroom level. While students may be too immature to understand the gravity of the situation, you should lead by example. You should try to explain to the students how lethal the virus is and make them aware of all the prerequisite precautions. Thus, now taking COVID precautions in the classroom is going to be essential to your knack for teaching the right way.
Moving further, there are specific steps or measures you can take at a classroom level. These precautions or measures can minimise the risk of infections spreading from one person to another. Not only are these precautions necessary for the safety of students but also your well-being. Further, you should always beware of the fact that it is a lethal and contagious virus. The risks of transmission are high, and one infected student or teacher can infect the entire class in no time. The COVID precautions are going to be a part of the modern and healthy lifestyle for a while now. Hence, you need to be aware, alert, and conscious all the time. Besides, as a teacher, you should encourage this consciousness and alertness in your students. Now let us have a glance at what different measures can you take in a classroom to ensure everyone’s well-being.
Whether you’re in the safety of your own home, or outside in a secluded park, you can host a lesson using Skype integration. This allows teachers to speak to and see their students in a completely safe way. They can take attendance and write down any relevant notes about how the class goes.
The accessibility of this software also benefits the students. Keeping track of assignments isn’t easy, especially when learning takes place at home. But with calendars and reminders, students can manage their tasks and upload their homework directly to the system. Teachers are able to add a grade and feedback from any location.
If physical distancing is not possible at all times, students and teachers should use face masks. The use of different types of face masks protects a person’s mouth and nose from germ containing droplets, splashes, or sprays. So, in this way, a person wearing a mask wherever necessary can reduce the risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
Medical organisations recommend the use of a face mask as one of the most effective ways of reducing risks of transmission. The World Health Organization includes the use of face coverings in their recommendations laid down for slowing down the spread of the virus. Also, UNICEF has recently issued advice on the use of masks by children in public. Hence, you should wear a mask in the classroom and encourage the students to do the same.
Dividing the students into small groups or bubbles for lunch and other activities is another useful precaution. Small groups or bubbles ensure physical separation between students or mixing of students of different age groups. Various research and health organisations have proven the effectiveness of social bubbles.
Therefore, you can divide your students into small bubbles or groups to reduce the risks of transmission. Further, you should also encourage your students not to form big groups for socialisation. If they interact or participate in large groups, the risks can be high
You should explain to your students the need to maintain frequent hand hygiene for their safety. It is one of the necessary classroom precautions that students and teachers should follow. You should teach your students about the need to wash their hands regularly to protect themselves and others from the infection. Furthermore, you should encourage students to wash their hands with soaps before lunch or before exiting the school.
Besides, you should encourage the use of hand sanitisers in students. You can also place a sanitiser dispenser or a bottle of hand sanitiser in the class. So, even if students do not frequently wash their hands, they can get rid of the germs with the sanitiser. Also, you should inspire students to follow hand hygiene at their homes when they go back.
Young children may not have a lot of knowledge and exposure to understand what COVID-19 is. You should create awareness in the class about what coronavirus is and how it spreads. Further, in a careful manner such that students do not panic, you should explain to them how lethal it can be. Therefore, when students have an awareness of it, they are going to follow the precautions and instructions with more dedication.
Hence, students are going to take precautionary measures seriously when they know about the virus. You should make them aware of how they can contract the virus and how they can protect themselves from contracting it. In this way, you can encourage a better sense of responsibility among young children to fight the disease. Last but not least, you ought to inform students about the various symptoms of coronavirus.
Ensuring ventilation in the classroom is another strategy to ensure the well-being of students and teachers. So, you should make way for the fresh outside air to dilute the indoor air which may carry germs or infection. Also, you should ensure airflow supply to all parts of the room if possible.
You can also keep the windows open if you feel it is possible and safe to do so. In addition to this, you should also encourage the correct respiratory etiquette among children.
To conclude, the world is gradually returning to normalcy after disruptions by the pandemic. However, the epidemic is still prevalent, and there is a need to follow as many precautions as you can. Further, as schools host innumerable teachers and students, the chances of the virus spreading can be high. Hence, as a responsible teacher, you should give priority to the health of your students as well as health. To do so, you can take many precautions at the classroom level. These precautions, in addition to the precautions taken by the school management, can minimise the spread of the virus. But it is vital that while taking precautions, you also teach students the importance of various measures. You also need to make students aware of the steps they should follow at home to ensure well-being. Moreover, you should be cautious about identifying symptoms in students. If a student has symptoms, you should inform parents and school management at the earliest. With your alertness, awareness, and attention to detail, you can prevent a classroom from becoming a COVID-19 cluster.
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