Schools get guidelines to reopen for summer activities


(Getty Images)

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – As the state continues to relax the restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, schools are receiving guidance on how to reopen to students for summer activities.

The Alabama State Department of Education released guidance for schools to enter its third phase of reopening, which is expected to occur June 1.

The checklist addresses group sizes in schools, coronavirus symptom monitoring, sanitizing and other operating considerations that schools across the state will use to try and keep kids safe when they come back.

Some of the social distancing guidelines include maintaining social distancing by limiting groups to one adult supervising 12 students, wearing facial coverings in common areas and whenever 6 feet distance can’t be maintained.

For parent drop-off and pickup, the state recommends limiting direct contact between student supervisors and parents, and having hand hygiene stations like sinks or hand sanitizer dispensers for students to use as they enter and exit the building.

Athletes will not be allowed to use shared water coolers, and athletic equipment will need to be disinfected as much as possible.

For symptom monitoring, the state says staff should monitor students for signs of illness and immediately isolate any child who is sick in a designated area. Any areas the child used should be closed off for 24 hours, if possible, and then cleaned and disinfected.

The state says improvement of ventilation systems should be considered so that facilities can increase ventilation rates, increase the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system, and prevent recirculating air.

Students who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, such as those with asthma or diabetes, will be encouraged to speak with their child’s doctor before returning to school for activities.

Extensive hand washing will be required of students and staff, including anytime anyone enters or leaves the building. Hand washing also will be required before and after outdoor play, eating or handling food and drinks, using the bathroom, administering medication, and coming into contact with bodily fluid.

Food will be distributed in a grab-and-go manner, and kitchens will be cleaned before, during and after preparing food.

School transportation staff will be encouraged to use facial coverings, clean routinely, avoid touching surfaces touched by passengers and if necessary, use gloves to touch areas contaminated by bodily fluids.