3 Steps School and District Leaders Can Take to Combat the Coronavirus

The phone rings. An angry parent is on the line demanding to know what you are going to do about the high school student who just returned from a family wedding in Italy, where there were more than 3,000 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases as of late last week. Before you can respond, the parent demands you remove the child, who has not shown any symptoms, for the next two weeks. What do you do?

Combatting Coronavirus in Schools

With the growing fear of the newest worldwide virus, schools and districts are being asked to be ready. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have released multiple reports, updates, and resources. It’s a lot of information to read through, and parents are expecting our teams to be experts with a plan. 

Consider these three steps to address coronavirus in your schools as you work with your teams.

1. Ensure each school has a rigorous cleaning schedule in place.

Our custodial teams are often the unsung heroes of our school, as they ensure each classroom is cleaned and ready for the day. But, when an epidemic like the coronavirus rears its ugly head, we need to ensure additional precautions are in place. Increased cleaning, additional supplies for teachers to use, and communications about the additional protocols are necessary. The more you communicate, the more confident your community feels about your preparedness.

2. Develop a policy for students who exhibit symptoms.

Students, educators, families, and community members (basically everyone) are hyperaware of the symptoms that one may have. While many of the symptoms are similar to Influenza A or B, a plan for how you are going to work with students and families who exhibit symptoms is critical. We can’t be so hypersensitive that we put every student out for 14 days. But we also want to be diligent in assessing students and ensuring that an appropriate policy is in place to back your decisions. Ensure that you are utilizing information from the CDC and/or WHO to support your policy.

3. Create a plan for out-of-school learning.

We are already seeing school districts in the United States closing schools based on suspected cases. If your district makes the decision to close for 14 days or longer, what’s the plan to keep educating students? 

Assemble a team of stakeholders to build out your contingency plan for out-of-school learning. Do this as soon as possible because, if an outbreak occurs, you can respond immediately with a plan of action. Be sure to include parent and student representatives on your team when building this plan.

In the meantime, check out this additional resource on Chalkbeat that helps support your thinking in developing your plans.

This post originally appeared on the LeaderEd Connect blog.

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To help you continue teaching and learning during the current outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), visit our At-Home Learning Support page for free resources.

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