How can schools reopen safely?
With the 2020-2021 school year just around the corner, school districts and families need to consider when schools can reopen and what we can all do to make schools safe for students, staff, and their families. Some groups are even offering funding to schools for the supplies and personal protective equipment they’ll need in order to reopen safely in the fall, such as masks, gloves, and cleaning supplies. In addition to extra stocks of those items, schools can benefit from plastic barriers and partitions.
Where should partitions be used?
The CDC recommends barriers whenever a distance of at least 6 feet between people is not possible. Partitions and sneeze guards have already been implemented in many offices (between desks and in reception areas) and retail establishments (at cash registers and customer service counters). In light of the recently published CDC considerations, schools can benefit from partitions in similar areas, and many others:
Individual student desks
The CDC recommends positioning desks so that students face the same direction, rather than each other. Topping desks with clear partitions can provide even more protection against the spread of contagions while students sit at their desks. KTM Solutions has customizable designs for middle-/high-school as well as elementary-school desks.
Shared desks and tables
In addition to standard, individual student desks, partitions can be used to divide spaces at shared tables, such as science-lab counters, cafeteria/faculty-lounge tables, or kidney-bean tables. These partitions will provide a barrier to protect students and teachers while still allowing group interaction.
COVID-19 PPE and partitions are especially important in medical setups, including school nurses’ areas. Physical barriers can protect students as well as school nurses; partitions can also create an isolation area for students or staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who display symptoms.
Physical barriers are recommended to reduce contact between receptionists and visitors. Customized cutouts allow people to exchange or sign documents. Partitions at an office entry or pass through can also help limit contact between people.
As with other areas, the CDC recommends physical barriers between bathroom sinks if they are less than 6 feet apart. Clear plastic partitions can be mounted easily to most walls or counters, and could even extend out from the counter to separate students washing their hands at adjacent sinks.
One concern for schools is how to have assemblies safely during the coronavirus pandemic. Although the CDC recommends limiting assemblies to the fewest possible occurrences and keeping any necessary gatherings small, when meetings are needed, microphone shields could help reduce the spread of contagions from speakers’ mouths to either their hands or the handle of the microphone. This protection is especially important if different speakers will share the same microphone.
Other areas not already mentioned could implement barriers in order to allow social distancing between students—or groups of students, where schools are practicing cohorting (organizing students into small groups that stay together when at school). For example, some schools have separated gymnasiums into smaller spaces. Wherever they’re helpful, partitions can serve as either temporary or semi-permanent room dividers: at KTM, we’re offering the options of rolling partitions as well as stationary partitions, which in most cases can be mounted to floors, walls, or ceilings.
What are the benefits to KTM’s partitions?
Transparent or translucent materials (acrylic, twin sheet polycarbonate) to allow separation without restricting visibility
Multiple configurations and setups—customizable to fit the spaces where you need barriers
Adaptable to most existing furnishings and classroom configurations
Available in both rolling and stationary setups
Can also serve as dry-erase boards
Easy to clean and disinfect
Let Us Help
At KTM, we’re committed to providing durable solutions that enhance a post-COVID learning environment. If you are looking for partitions as a part of your COVID-19 prevention strategies, contact us to discuss what you need and let us develop a custom solution.