We know the coronavirus is extremely contagious and can be spread by those who have very mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. It’s what makes the disease especially hazardous in school settings.
With increased pressure to return students to the classroom, educators and our union must understand what is required to create and maintain a healthy and safe work environment in order to return, even partially, to school buildings or worksites. In developing protocols and requirements for the safe reopening of schools for in-person instruction, school systems must adhere to guidelines from the Maryland Department of Health, your local health department, and the Centers for Disease Control. Those mandated requirements should be observable in your school.
• Obtaining and maintaining adequate cleaning supplies and sanitizer
• Developing a schedule for increased routine cleaning and disinfection
• Closing communal spaces or developing a plan for staggered use
• Fixing or upgrading ventilation, if inadequate, to ensure adequate air flow and air quality
• Cleaning of classrooms in between use
• Adjusting physical layout of classrooms to ensure social distancing
• Physical guides, such as tape on floors and signs on walls, to promote social distancing
• Installing physical barriers where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least six feet apart
• Implementation of mitigation strategies such as:
Because many of these protocols and requirements impact working conditions, these must be negotiated through the statutory process or reached collaboratively through an agreed upon process with the local association. And these same agreed upon protocols and requirements must be distributed to staff, families, and students in advance of implementation.