A Buyer’s Guide to Reopening Classrooms Amid COVID-19: 15 CDC Guidelines

The transition to online teaching was difficult — but you did it! Now that many communities are getting the spread of COVID-19 under control by following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), school systems across the country are getting ready to reopen their classrooms to in-person learning.

OnTimeSupplies.com wants you to know you’re not alone in this next phase of adaptation. Our mission is to support educators with a large inventory of high-quality supplies and the best customer service experience in the world.

To help you reopen your classroom safely, we break down the 15 guidelines put out by the CDC for modifying your space to promote healthy behaviors and minimize the risk of cross-contamination. Read on for tips on social distancing, hand sanitizing stations, physical barriers and including best practices in your curriculum to reduce student anxiety while increasing compliance.

15 Guidelines from the CDC for Modifying Your Classroom

1. Create social distance. Measure to make sure desks or workstations are at least six feet apart. Have students sit in the same assigned seat every day and suggest standardized seating charts across all classrooms to make this simpler.

2. Face everyone the same direction. Rather than having desks face each other, turn all desks or tables to face the front of the room. Have students sit on only one side of worktables, adding more to your room if necessary.

3. Modify group stations and activities. If working in groups is necessary, put fewer students in each group so they can maintain proper social distancing. If there isn’t enough room to leave six feet between group members, use physical barriers like partitions and panels to keep everyone safer.

4. X marks the spot. Use colorful masking tape on tables and other work areas to let students know where they cannot sit to maintaining six feet of distance from others. These X marks mean “no sitting here!”

5. Make one-way paths. Create clear, one-way paths for entering, exiting and moving around your classroom while maintaining social distance. Keep emergency exit procedures in mind when marking the floor with colorful tape, and remind students to keep the length of a bicycle between themselves and others when they need to sharpen a pencil or go to the restroom.

6. Set up multiple hand sanitizing stations. Unless your classroom includes a sink with running water, create hand sanitizing stations at the door and near your desk. Keep a steady supply of alcohol-based hand sanitizer available and remind students to rub it into their hands for at least 20 seconds.

7. Model healthy hygiene. Sanitize your own hands every time you enter the classroom, after touching furniture or other objects and as you exit the room. Use disinfecting wipes and other cleaning products as necessary, always explaining how and why to the young people learning from you.

8. Store disinfecting supplies safely. Make sure all your cleaning and disinfecting supplies are stored safely. As is appropriate to their age, you might want students to disinfect their own work areas at the beginning and end of each school day.

9. Maintain a “teacher zone.” Mark off an area around your desk that allows you to maintain six feet of distance when interacting with your students. Discuss with your class why this “teacher zone” is needed and what your expectations are for respecting and maintaining it.

10. Create kid-friendly barriers. If the size or configuration of your classroom prohibits a safe zone around your desk, consider installing an acrylic barrier on your desk. These clear panels allow visual interactions while inhibiting the spread of droplets.

11. Let the air in. Good ventilation is key to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Whenever possible, open a classroom window to bring in fresh air and leave interior doors open. However, if opening windows exacerbates safety risks, as from falling or triggering asthmatics, keep the windows closed.

12. Keep the air moving. Place box fans either in an open window or strategically around the room to increase ventilation.

13. Separate shared supplies. Separate each student’s belongings into labeled containers, desks or cubbies. Discourage or prohibit sharing books, calculators and other items by making sure there are enough for each student to have one. High-touch school supplies — like pens, markers, highlighters, paints, sports equipment and musical instruments — should be limited and thoroughly disinfected after each use.

14. Post reminders. Set your students up for success by displaying posters and signs that remind them how to stop the spread of germs. The CDC offers several free printable posters on topics like wearing a mask, proper hand washing, social distancing and more.

15. Include COVID-19 lessons in your curriculum. Reduce anxiety while reducing the spread of the coronavirus with informational videos from the CDC and other educational elements about the pandemic. Adding age-appropriate discussions, art projects or writing assignments on the topic can help get everyone on board with mitigation procedures and alleviate some of the stress of returning to the classroom.

And to help you find some qualified cleaning products right here at OnTime Supplies, here are 4 great choices for sanitizing wipes that are listed on the EPA List N Products with Emerging Viral Pathogens AND Human Coronavirus claims for use against SARS-CoV-2:

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