“Education” for the 2020–2021 school year (PART III)

A Safe and Healthy School Year

Working through the summer and preparing for the fall of a school year is a typical sprint many in education work through. A normal summer to fall transition was not like this at all. More meetings, loads of indecision, and confusion based on local, federal, and school-wide decisions led us to do everything we could to prepare for whatever may happen come September 10, 2020.

Towards the end of August, the campus started to look “normal” with more people on campus (all wearing masks) and working through a pre-check app and routine.

We worked with AUXS to refine and prepare to deploy their App to our community. Leveraging many tools they had baked in their App, we could customize and adjust the form’s wording based on current CDC recommendations.

During this time, Envoy was adjusting its visitor management system to do much the same thing to provide a safe reentry into in-person work. After demoing their beta and speaking with them, the App was reliable though the costs and focused on AUXS (mostly educational) won us over.

The team worked closely with AUXS to address several bugs and tweak for the numerous constituents we had to check-in daily.

Pre-screening app takeaways. Any of these systems rely on the person’s honesty in filling out the form and the institution’s support, allowing the person filling out the form to feel that they will not be “punished” for truthful responses. Having clear policies and processes in place is critical. Since recommendations change continually, this is tough but must provide clear guidance.

We collected the research for digital thermal cameras, touchless thermometers, and various other tools that may quickly assess a group of students entering the school. Health professionals provided feedback to see if the benefits outweighed the costs and inconvenience.

At the start of school, we implemented touchless thermometers (scan of the forehead), and the receptionist could quickly note “normal” temperature readings. I found the readings inaccurate and questioned the value anyway since one consistent in COVID is fever is one symptom. Many people are asymptomatic so that this metric would provide a false sense of security and health. It is a simple and easy metric and a reasonable first step to giving some visibility into the community.

Health screening takeaways. For systems requiring monitoring and interactions with the community, clear communication and policies ensure consistent follow-up and feedback.

Nothing is 100% effective. Being transparent with the community, providing feedback, and being open to questions will provide the necessary support for many to feel safe and comfortable.

Supporting the community remotely (PART IV)

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