Reopening schools while maintaining health and safety

The recent COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of children to transition to a remote learning environment – far too quickly for many districts to make adequate preparations. While some schools may have been less than fully prepared for this particular pandemic, advance crisis planning helped other schools manage the necessary transition more smoothly. Going forward, strong and effective planning for the reopening of schools need not be a surprise, and careful planning and execution can avoid any decrease in student and staff health and safety during the upcoming opening process.

On a positive note, the government is currently enacting a pandemic relief package that includes a significant funding allocation for K-12 schools nationwide in the coming months. If the proposal is implemented, this funding could supply up to $128 billion for all school districts, which comes nearly to $2,500 per student nationwide, and can be used to help school health and safety systems not only for the present reopening needs, but also for longer-term improvement projects.

In the sections below, we discuss the three distinct phases of reopening and provide suggestions on how to maximize the effectiveness of each phase.

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