With the pandemic still at large, people around the globe are considering every possible solution that’ll enable them to go back to work. Working from home with the help of virtual meeting platforms is one option — but only for a handful of professions.
The same applies to schools. Online classes helped when there was no other option available, but they could never have the same potential as live teaching.
Now that people are considering going back to offices and classrooms, it’s necessary to follow all the instructions provided by the World Health Organization.
In this article, we will go through some of the following:
- Preparing schools and offices for the return of employees and students
- Things that employees and students should know before the return
- Strategies that need to be implemented after the return
- The importance of PPE (Personal protective equipment)
What Are the First Steps That Need to Be Considered?
Educating people about the importance of social distancing and the disinfection of the public spaces is crucial in order for the plan made by the US government to be a success, and this stops the virus from spreading.
Recently, EPA released a list of all approved disinfectants. Regular use of these disinfectants on surfaces that are touched by many different people will greatly reduce the chance of infection.
Inform Employees and Students About Preventive Measures
Office employees and school children should be informed about the importance of the following measures:
- Practice hygiene at home and in public – Regularly wash your hands with soap or use hand sanitizer. Use your elbow, hand, or tissue when you cough and sneeze.
- Disinfect frequently used items – If there are items that you often touch or are touched by others, make sure to disinfect them often.
- Maintain social distancing – Avoid going to crowded areas, like public transit, bars, and clubs.
- Keep windows open – If you’re sharing a space with more than one person, make sure that the windows are open to ensure proper ventilation.
- If you feel unwell, stay at home – Avoid public spaces if you feel unwell. If necessary, do a test and if positive, inform everyone you have recently been in contact with.
Employers and school staff should send an email with information about these preventive measures to staff and students. It’s also recommended to print them out and place them strategically in the shared spaces.
Tip: Take a look at the complete list of all preventive measures suggested by WHO.
Plans and Strategies for the Return
An emergency plan should include all the steps that need to be taken in case there is an outbreak inside a community, school, or area. It can also be applied in cases where only a few individuals are infected, to better prevent the spread of the disease.
After carefully reviewing the emergency plan, it is also important to develop strategies that will lower the risk of infection. Some of these strategies include the promotion of healthy behaviors that will reduce the spread, maintain healthy environments and healthy operations.
As mentioned above, preventive measures include regular hygiene and staying at home when it is recommended. You can also point out the importance of eating healthy, working out, or taking vitamin supplements.
Also, crowded in-door locations are a huge no-go until the end of the pandemic. That’s why every business and school should consider:
- Smaller groups
- Multiple shifts
- Reduced working hours
- Regular breaks to ventilate the shared space
That way, fewer people would share the same space, and the risk of infection would be lower.
This is also connected to the lunch break modifications. Steer clear from serving self-serve food or drinking options. Individually plated or pre-packed meals are preferable. Moreover, both children and employees should be advised to eat in the open-air, instead of communal halls or dining spaces.
The Role of Personal Protective Equipment
PPE Products, or Personal Protective Equipment, include face masks, gloves, visors, goggles, shoe covers, head covers, and gowns.
The use of PPE in the workplace heavily depends on two things:
- The number of people that the job requires you to come in contact with
- Exposure to chemicals (disinfectants) during work hours.
Every employer and school is responsible for providing a safe and healthy shared space. And this wouldn’t be possible without regular disinfection of the shared space. This means that maintenance personnel will be exposed to a higher level of chemicals, but also be in contact with some of the most hazardous areas while cleaning.
Another example is a school nurse who regularly comes in contact with sick students. These members of staff are the ones who suffer the greatest risk of infection. PPE is a must for them to have a healthy and safe work environment.
That is why each organization or business should:
- Establish the level of exposure for each work position.
- Provide the necessary PPE equipment for their employees.
- Provide a training lesson on the proper use of the equipment.
It is also recommended to share knowledge about the proper use of PPE among the students. That way, both the staff and the children are better protected from infection.
A Shortage of PPE – What Then?
A shortage of PPE is possible. Fortunately, there are several other solutions available.
For example, you can use ventilation systems to improve airflow. That will lower the chance of the virus from spreading. Keep windows open when inside and hold outdoor classes and work sessions whenever possible.
Plastic barriers, like partitions, between employees, students and teachers can serve as a protective measure.
Even though a regular mask isn’t considered personal protective equipment, it’s recommended to have one. The mask is meant to prevent the wearer from infecting others. This way, everyone is spreading awareness of the need for social distancing.
The best way to protect others is to be responsible and protect ourselves. Returning to our old way of life isn’t impossible, as long as we work together.
The use of personal protective equipment is necessary, especially for personnel who are at the highest risk of being infected.
If you are interested in high-quality PPE provided by Mark One, visit our online store. Mark One offers a variety of PPE, as well as other products that enable a safe and healthy work environment. Fill out this request form to get a complimentary sample for a product of your choice.