Healthy Operations

Preparing for School Reopening/Closing > Healthy Operations

Schools may consider implementing several strategies to maintain healthy operations when developing plans for reopening. It is important that schools balance multiple factors such as community transmission risk, layered mitigation strategies (e.g., limiting class sizes, use of masks, proper hygiene, school cleaning), and students’ educational and emotional needs when developing plans.

Maintaining healthy operations

Key Considerations:

  • Policies and/or procedures to provide attendance options that provide protections for staff and children at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. telework, modified job responsibilities, virtual learning opportunities, inclusive programming for students with special healthcare needs and disabilities, policies to protect the privacy of people at higher risk for severe illness regarding underlying medical conditions)
  • Monitor local or state regulatory agency policies related to group gatherings to determine if events can be held in person.
  • Implementing cohorting or creating pods of students and teachers for the entire school day for those attending in-person classes.
  • Promote virtual gatherings (e.g. student assemblies, performances, school-wide meetings), virtual visits to schools (e.g. parent meetings, meetings with school nurses, psychologists, therapists), and virtual field trips when possible.
  • Developing protocols for attending in-person events (e.g. sporting events, meetings, trainings) in ways that reduce transmission of COVID-19 (e.g.physical distancing, personal protective equipment, staggered scheduling, limiting of visitors).
  • Designating a COVID-19 point of contact person to be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns such as absences from school/work, communicating with family and local health officials, and communicating when an individual can return to school (e.g. school nurse, school administrator).
  • Developing travel and transit protocols that consider the following:
    • Limiting non-essential travel in accordance with state and local regulations and guidance
    • Encouraging use of forms of transportation that minimize close contact with others (e.g., biking, walking, driving or riding by car either alone or with household members).
    • Plan for safe transportation for students with disabilities to include guidance for social distancing and personal protective equipment when close contact is required.
  • Developing communication protocols for staff and families to self-report symptoms, positive test results, COVID-19 exposure, and updates on school closures.
  • Implementing flexible leave policies and practices that enable staff to stay home when they are sick, have been exposed, or caring for someone who is sick.
  • Consider creating a roster of trained back-up staff available when school staff is absent.
    Training for staff on safety protocols.
  • Providing support for employees and students on coping and resilience skills.

NASN Resources

Activating the Planning for the Next Normal at School Playbook

Back to School Safely During COVID-19: Tips for Families, Guardians, and Caretakers | NASN & Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology

Considerations for School Nurses: Health Equity Implications During COVID-19 Pandemic

Prioritizing School Nursing Practice Activities

COVID-19 Prevention for K-12 Schools Part 1: Updated Guidance Recording from Webinar hosted on 07/20/2021

CDC Resources

Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open

Schools and Child Care Programs​ Resources

Keeping Areas Safe Infographic

Other Resources

Environmental Protection Agency: List N: Disinfectants for COVID-19 | United States Environmental Protection Agency

COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools | American Academy of Pediatrics