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COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for Specific School Spaces

Upper Grade Classrooms

  • 1. Mechanical Ventilation – HVAC system should operate at total supply air flow throughout the day as appropriate.
  • 2. Natural Ventilation – Open windows if operable and no mechanical ventilation is available.
  • 3. Increased Ventilation (Flush Period) – A break should be scheduled between classes to allow room air to be flushed between classes.
  • 4. Supplemental Filtration – An air purifier can be used to increase ventilation. Multiple units may be necessary depending on the size of the classroom.
  • 5. Supplemental Ventilation – A window-mounted box fan can efficiently exhaust indoor air outdoors. The fan can be positioned by the teacher if teaching without a mask.
  • 6. Physical Barriers – Plexiglass dividers can be positioned between students. Dividers should extend a few inches off the table to provide a physical barrier when students are sitting back in their chairs.
  • 7. Noise – Students should be asked to talk quietly to reduce aerosol germs released when speaking. A sound monitor with a visual display mounted on a wall or in easy view can be used as a noise level reminder.
  • 8. Outdoor Spaces – Move classes outdoors if possible.
  • 9A. Physical Distancing – Modify smaller classrooms to allow for live-streaming of classes into a second room. Allow teachers to move easily between classrooms.
  • 9B. Physical Distancing – Teachers should maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing with students.
  • 9C. Physical Distancing – Arrange desks to be at least 6 feet apart, ideally in a zig-zag configuration.
  • 10. Hand Hygiene – Place hand sanitizer in easily accessible locations. Encourage students to disinfect hands before touching shared items.
  • 11A. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Make disinfectant wipes available for students to wipe down surfaces before and after use.
  • 11B. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Students should use their own supplies and disinfect shared supplies.
Desks should be arranged such that students are physically distanced at least 2 meters or 6 feet apart. Zig-zag configurations can be used to maximize the number of students that can be accommodated in the classroom. Plexiglass barriers can be used to limit contact between students when 2-meter (six foot) distancing is not possible. It may also be possible to repurpose larger spaces available in the school, such as gymnasiums, common rooms and auditorium as additional classrooms. To limit occupant movement in the school building, teachers are recommended to rotate between classrooms rather than students.

Kindergarten and Lower Grade Classes

Diagram: Kindergarten and lower grades room.
  • 1. Mechanical Ventilation – HVAC system should be operated at total supply air flow throughout the day as appropriate.
  • 2. Natural Ventilation – Open windows if operable and no mechanical ventilation is available.
  • 3. Supplemental Ventilation – Use air purifiers to increase ventilation. Multiple units may be necessary depending on classroom size.
  • 4. Supplemental Filtration – A window-mounted box fan exhausting indoor air outdoors can be used to increase ventilation.
  • 5. Noise – Students should be asked to talk quietly to reduce aerosol germs released when speaking. As a reminder, a sound monitor with visual display can hung on a wall.
  • 6. Outdoor Spaces – Move classes outdoors if possible.
  • 7. Masks – Teachers can consider modifying class activities and design games in which the rules involve keeping masks on and keeping social distancing.
  • 8. Hand Hygiene – Place hand sanitizer at easily accessible locations. Encourage students to disinfect their hands before touching shared items.
  • 9A. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Store unused materials to maximize available space for physical distancing and reduce clutter to facilitate cleaning.
  • 9B. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Children should have their own writing/craft supplies. If this is not possible, then shared supplies should be disinfected between use.
  • 9C. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Toys should be disinfected between different groups of children.
  • 9D. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Make disinfectant wipes available to teachers to wipe down shared services.
  • 10A. Physical Distancing – Separate play spaces and other game equipment. Ask children to occupy different play areas.
  • 10B. Physical Distancing – Mark the floor with different animal/cartoon stickers and design games that ask children to stay in a sticker-designated space.

Activity patterns of students and teachers in lower grade classrooms (Kindergarten to Grade 2) are distinct from the upper grades. Students tend to be more mobile throughout the day and much of the day is spent near or on the floor. Young students in these classrooms are also less likely to follow rules regarding face masks, hand hygiene and physical distancing. To encourage preventive behaviors, teachers can play health education games with students. These games could cover topics including:

  1. sneezing into their elbow (‘be a vampire’),
  2. effective hand hygiene (‘wash off the paint or glitter’)
  3. mask use (‘decorate your mask’)

While physical distancing younger students may prove challenging, classroom furniture can be rearranged with activity stations spaced at least 2 meters or 6 feet apart. Toys, shared supplies and high touch surfaces are recommended to be cleaned and disinfected between groups of students. Supply of disinfectant wipes in the classroom will facilitate frequent use by teachers on contaminated surfaces and items. Placing a hand sanitizer bottle in the classroom can encourage use by students, and students can be taught to remind each other, or be reminded by the teacher.

Music Rooms

Diagram of a music room
  • 1. Mechanical Ventilation - HVAC systems should be operated at appropriate total supply air flow throughout the day.
  • 2. Natural Ventilation - Open windows, if operable and no mechanical ventilation is available.
  • 3. Increased Ventilation (Flush Period) - The room should be allowed to flush between classes; this flush time will be dependent on the type of practice (wind instruments, singing vs. string instruments) and the ventilation in the room.
  • 4. Supplemental Filtration - Use an air purifier to increase ventilation in the room if not possible using the building’s HVAC system.
  • 5. Supplemental Ventilation - Mount a box fan into the window to exhaust air outdoors. Students playing wind instruments or singing should be closest to the fan.
  • 6. Physical Barriers - Put plexiglasses barricades between wind players and singers and position these students furthest away from other players wearing masks.
  • 7. Outdoor Space - Move classes with wind instruments or singers outdoors, if possible.
  • 8. Class Schedule - Rehearse in smaller groups and take breaks during the practice. Students should wear masks during these breaks to allow aerosol to be flushed out of the room by the mechanical ventilation system or supplemental air treatment units (i.e. box fan, air purifier).
  • 9A. Physical Distancing: Modify smaller music rooms to allow for live-streaming into a second room.
  • 9B. Physical Distancing: Teachers should maintain at least 6-ft or 2-m of physical distancing with students.
  • 9C. Physical Distancing: Arrange music stands to be at least 6-ft apart facing forward; larger distances should be used between students playing select wind instruments or singing. Students should have their own music stand.
  • 10A. Cleaning and Disinfecting - Store unused materials to maximize available space for physical distancing and reduce clutter to facilitate cleaning.
  • 10B. Cleaning and Disinfecting - Make disinfectant wipes available to students to wipe down surfaces before and after use.
  • 11. Hand Hygiene - Place hand sanitizer at easily accessible locations. Encourage students to disinfect their hands before touching common surfaces.
Music rooms are high risk spaces in schools as singing and wind or brass instruments can generate airborne germs. Schools should consider holding music classes and rehearsals outdoors if possible. Tents can increase flexibility with outdoor spaces but should be open-sided and high-pitched. When music classes are held indoors, class times should be limited and allow for a ventilation flush period before the next group of students enters the room. Teachers can also schedule 5 to 10-minute breaks during a rehearsal session to permit HVAC or fans to clear the room. During these breaks, all students are recommended to wear masks. These breaks may also serve as an opportune time for teachers to introduce digital platforms in the event at-home learning is necessary. Because of the nature of their instrument, flutists should be segregated behind plexiglass and/or physically separated by more than 12 ft or 4m from others. Students should have their own music stand. Students should not discharge water valves on the floor; students should have their own absorbent pads or container. Students should not share their instruments.

Art Rooms

Diagram: Art Room.
  • 1. Mechanical Ventilation – HVAC systems should operate at total supply air flow throughout the day as appropriate.
  • 2. Natural Ventilation – Open windows if operable and mechanical ventilation is not available.
  • 3. Supplemental Ventilation – A box fan can be mounted in windows if additional ventilation is needed.
  • 4. Supplemental Filtration – Use air purifiers to increase air changes if building’s HVAC system is unable to do so.
  • 5. Outdoor Spaces – Move classes outdoors if possible.
  • 6. Physical Distancing – Teachers should maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing with students.
  • 7. Hand Hygiene – Place hand sanitizer at easily accessible locations. Encourage students to disinfect their hands before touching shared items.
  • 8A. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Store unused materials to maximize available space for physical distancing and reduce clutter to facilitate cleaning.
  • 8B. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Place disinfectant wipes on work spaces and ask students to wipe down surfaces before and after use.
  • 8C. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Students should use their own art supplies and disinfect shared supplies.
  • 9. Physical Distancing – Arrange work spaces to be at least 6 feet apart.
Art rooms can be viewed as lower risk as students can wear masks throughout the class session. The risk of COVID-19 transmission rises when art tools are shared. SARS-CoV-2 can remain viable on various surfaces, ranging from four hours on copper to a maximum of three days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces. Providing each student with a set of essential art tools can minimize shared objects but may not be feasible in many cases. Any shared supplies and surfaces are recommended to be cleaned and disinfected after use. A block of time can be scheduled near the end of each class allocated to cleaning and disinfecting art supplies. Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer can be placed at multiple locations around the art room to encourage use during class. Students and teachers should maintain at least 2 meters or 6 feet of physical distance; workstations can be reconfigured to promote adherence to guidelines. When proximity is needed for teaching, this should be very brief.

Computer Labs

Diagram: Computer Room.
  • 1. Mechanical Ventilation – HVAC system should operate at total supply air flow throughout the day as appropriate.
  • 2. Natural Ventilation – Open windows if operable and mechanical ventilation is not available.
  • 3. Supplemental Filtration – Use an air purifier to increase air changes if not possible using the building’s HVAC system.
  • 4. Supplemental Ventilation – A box fan can be mounted into a window to increase ventilation.
  • 5. Physical Barriers – Install plexiglass between computer workstations.
  • 6. Hand Hygiene – Place hand sanitizer at easily accessible locations. Encourage students to disinfect their hands before touching common surfaces.
  • 7. Risk Communication – Promote risk reduction personal behaviors (e.g. masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing)
  • 8A. Physical Distancing – Teachers should maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing with students.
  • 8B. Physical Distancing – Arrange work spaces to be at least 6 feet apart. Physical barriers can be used if workstations cannot be moved.
  • 9. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Place disinfectant wipes on work spaces and ask students to wipe down shared surfaces (e.g. keyboard, mouse) before and after use.
Shared computer peripherals (i.e., mouse, keyboard, screen) increase the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Computer peripherals are made from plastics where SARS-CoV-2 can remain active or infectious for approximately 3 days. Cleaning and disinfection between groups of students are recommended. To promote good hand hygiene, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes can be placed around the computer lab. Teachers and students should maintain at least 2 meters or 6 feet of physical distance while wearing masks. Plexiglass barriers can be positioned between workstations to minimize prolonged close contact of students during class times. Ventilation can be increased further in computer classrooms, as with other spaces, to reduce airborne transmission risks through mechanical or natural ventilation options. Supplemental controls like fans and air purifiers can also be used if other ventilations options are not available.

Gymnasiums

Diagram: Gymnasium
  • 1. Mechanical Ventilation – HVAC system should operate at total supply air flow throughout the day as appropriate.
  • 2. Natural Ventilation – Windows should be opened if mechanical ventilation is not available or insufficient.
  • 3. Supplemental Ventilation – Box fans can be mounted into windows to provide additional ventilation for buildings without HVAC systems.
  • 4. Outdoor Spaces – Practices should be held outdoors as much as possible.
  • 5. Visitors – Spectators should be limited or avoided.
  • 6. Hand Hygiene – Place hand sanitizer at easily accessible locations. Encourage students to disinfect their hands before touching shared items.
  • 7. Physical Distancing – Contact sports should be avoided. Individual or small group training is recommended.
  • 8. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Students should use their own sporting apparel and disinfect shared supplies after each practice.
  • 9. Masks – Students and teachers are recommended to wear masks while playing sports indoors and outdoors if the level of physical contact is high.

While athletic programs are a significant component of school life, participation in contact team sports presents a high risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Schools should assess the risks of disease transmission in each sport. Skill-building activities can be physically distanced in lieu of playing contact sports. Swimmers in adjacent lanes can start at opposite ends of the pool so that they are not swimming together the entire time. Decisions regarding phased return must be made for each sport. Schools should consider canceling inter-school athletics competitions to limit interaction between students and teachers from different schools. Division get-togethers, team meetings, team demonstrations are recommended to be held virtually. Precautions should be taken for sport activities held in indoor gymnasium spaces. All students on sports teams would likely benefit from education on disease control and discussion of the importance of a "shared-responsibility" mentality. The symptoms of students on sports teams should be checked regularly. Non-touch temperature checks before training, practices, competitions may help mitigate risks. Outdoor practice sessions are recommended be arranged as much as possible.

Masks are recommended while playing sports, in particular when indoors. Shared items and surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected between student groups. Good hand hygiene can be promoted by placing hand sanitizer around the gymnasium. Many gymnasiums have high ceilings and are equipped with dedicated mechanical ventilation systems which have the potential to provide effective levels of ventilation. To ensure increased ventilation is provided for students and teachers in this space for physical education classes or sports practices, available HVAC systems should be operated with demand-controlled ventilation disabled to allow the highest levels of outdoor air to be brought in while the gymnasium occupancy levels are relatively low. Gymnasium spaces may have large HVAC capabilities that could be repurposed by the school to hold other classes or events. In gymnasiums that are mechanically ventilated, use of operable windows and window-mounted box fans may be used to further increase ventilation levels.

Restrooms

diagram of a school restroom
  • 1A. Physical Barriers – Install lids on toilets.
  • 1B. Physical Barriers – Place plexiglass barriers between urinals.
  • 1C. Physical Barriers – Place plexiglass barriers between sinks. Do not tape off sinks for physical distancing.
  • 2. Exhaust Ventilation – Confirm exhaust fans are operational and scheduled to be on while school is occupied.
  • 3. Unintended Exposures – Avoid opening bathroom windows in buildings with operational HVAC systems.
  • 4. Pressurization – Bathrooms should be maintained at negative air pressure relative to adjacent spaces. Windows may be open only to extent bathroom exhaust fans are able to maintain negative air pressure to prevent air flow to other building spaces.
  • 5. Hand Hygiene – Place a timer or clock by sinks to guide students on how long to wash their hands.
  • 6. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Automate doors or keep doors open.
  • 7. Physical Distancing – Set maximum occupancy limits. Tape 6-ft markers on floor for students waiting to enter.
  • 8A. Hand Hygiene – Hand dryers can be used if proper hand washing procedures are followed. If concerns exist regarding the thoroughness of hand washing with young children, paper towel is recommended.
  • 8B. Hand Hygiene – Place hand sanitizer at easily accessible locations inside and outside restroom.
  • 9. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Restrooms should be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Restrooms are a high-risk space for disease transmission. In restrooms, virus germs are not only transmitted from human-to-human and human-to-object, but also can be generated and spread by flushing toilets. The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been found in fecal samples of COVID-19 patients. In order to decrease the risk of disease transmission, occupancy limits should be set for each restroom. If a line forms, students must keep at least 2 meters or 6 feet of physical distance. Markers can be used to indicate 2 meters or 6 feet spacing. Frequent cleaning and disinfecting during the school day is recommended to minimize risks of surface contamination. Automated infrastructure in restrooms (automatic doors, touchless faucets, soap dispensers, towel dispensers and toilet flushers) can be used to reduce touch of high use surfaces. Instructions on proper hand-washing techniques can be posted by the sink area together with a clock that students can use to monitor the time spent washing their hands. If students follow the 20 second guidance for hand-washing, aerosol and droplets sprayed by hand dryers will not likely present disease risk; however, paper towels are recommended given that many younger and even older students may not adhere to recommended procedures. Placement of hand sanitizer by doors may also encourage good hand hygiene.

As most restroom spaces are small, physical barriers such as plexiglass can be positioned between sinks and urinals to lower contact between occupants. Toilet lids can also be installed as another physical barrier to limit exposure to aerosolized fecal material, though this may result in more touching of the lids. Increased ventilation in restrooms will also be critical in limiting airborne transmission; exhaust ventilation should be confirmed to be functioning properly and should be left on at all times when the school is occupied.

Cafeteria

Diagram: Cafeteria.
  • 1. Mechanical Ventilation – HVAC systems should operate at total supply air flow throughout the day as appropriate.
  • 2. Natural Ventilation – Open doors and windows if mechanical ventilation is unavailable or insufficient.
  • 3. Supplemental Ventilation – Window-mounted box fans can be used to exhaust indoor air outdoors.
  • 4. Increased Ventilation (Flush Period) – Schedule breaks between classes to allow room air to be flushed between student groups.
  • 5A. Physical Barriers – Install a plexiglass barrier at the cashier’s station.
  • 5B. Physical Barriers – Place plexiglass barriers on all tables to separate students. Dividers should extend a few inches off the table to provide a physical barrier between students sitting back from the table.
  • 6. Outdoor Space – Lunches should be eaten outside whenever possible. Tables can be set up under a tent.
  • 7A. Physical Distancing – Lunch times for different grades should be staggered to minimize cafeteria occupancy.
  • 7B. Physical Distancing - Grab-and-Go lunches are preferred over buffet-style, self-serve options. This will shorten wait times to get food and encourage students to eat in areas outside the cafeteria. Students should not share food or utensils. All unconsumed food should be disposed. Students should also be encouraged to bring lunches from home, if possible.
  • 7C. Physical Distancing – Arrange tables to be at least 6 feet apart.
  • 8. Noise – Students should be asked to talk quietly to reduce aerosol germs released when speaking. As a reminder, signs and a sound monitor can be hung on the wall.
  • 9A. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Eating areas should be cleaned and disinfected between each group of students.
  • 9B. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Single-use or no-touch beverage dispensers for water, ice, coffee, etc. should be used.
  • 9C. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Place disinfectant wipes on tables and ask students to wipe down their eating area before and after use.
  • 10.Hand Hygiene – Place hand sanitizer at easily accessible locations. Encourage students to disinfect their hands before touching common surfaces.

Cafeterias are viewed high-risk spaces in schools. Wearing face masks is one of the most effective disease controls; however, the mask usage cannot be enforced due to the need to eat. To limit the number of occupants in the cafeteria, lunch periods can be staggered. Students should be encouraged to eat their lunches with their pod outside (weather permitting) or in their assigned classroom. Students can be encouraged to bring a packed lunch from home if possible. Alternatively, a grab-and-go style lunch can be offered by the school to avoid long queues that extend contact times between students and between students and food service staff.

To reduce risk of transmission while not wearing masks, students can be asked to eat lunch at tables that are physically distanced 2 meters or 6 feet apart. Multiple students can be accommodated at a table using plexiglass barriers. Aerosols will be released by students while speaking during lunch. Release will be great with vocalization. Students should be asked to speak quietly, which is recognized to be potentially challenging with plexiglass barriers. To monitor sound levels, a noise monitor with a visual indicator can be placed in the cafeteria.

Placement of hand sanitizer bottles at accessible locations in the cafeteria will facilitate good hand hygiene. Access to disinfectant wipes on tables will further encourage students to wipe down surfaces before and after eating.

Evaluating ventilation options will be critical in this space. Mechanical ventilation is recommended to be operated at appropriate total supply air flow throughout the day. Since many building HVAC systems cannot be continuously operated at 100% outdoor air, a short purge cycle can be run between groups of students to bring in more fresh air in between use. For naturally ventilated spaces, operable windows should be used. Air can additionally be exhausted outdoors using outward-facing window-mounted box fans. Multiple units can be installed depending on the size of the cafeteria.

Hallways and Stairwells

Diagram: Hallways and Stairwells.
  • 1. Mechanical Ventilation – HVAC systems should operate at total supply air flow throughout the day as appropriate.
  • 2. Natural Ventilation – Open windows if operable and mechanical ventilation is not available.
  • 3. Risk Communication – Promote risk reduction in personal behaviors (e.g. masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing)
  • 4. Class Scheduling – Stagger class schedules across different grades to minimize hallway traffic and crowding in locker spaces.
  • 5. Hand Hygiene – Place hand sanitizer at easily accessible locations along hallways. Encourage students to disinfect their hands before touching common surfaces.
  • 6A. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Increase cleaning of high touch surfaces (e.g. doorknobs, cabinet handles, banisters, light switches).
  • 6B. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Automate frequently used doors to minimize the number of people touching surfaces.
  • 7. Physical Distancing – Place tape along the middle of stairs/halls to avoid congestion.
Although hallways and stairwells are only intermittently used during the school day, they are still considered to be higher-risk areas due to high occupancy at certain times, limited space for physical distancing and potentially lower levels of ventilation. Hallways and stairwells should be marked with tapes to show directions of flow (similar to a road traffic pattern with lanes to traffic in one direction), to avoid congestion and to remind people of keeping at least 2 meters or 6 feet of physical distance. In addition, classes can be staggered to minimize traffic in hallways. The concentrated flow of students and teachers in these spaces will create many high touch surfaces, such as doorknobs and light switches. Disinfection of these surfaces after classes change can help minimize transmission risk. Sensor automated, foot operated, or pop-open doors can also be used to reduce touch of high use doors. Signs can be placed in these spaces to alert students, teachers and staff of these no touch features and also encourage opening other doors using elbows, keys, pens, or other tools. To increase ventilation within hallways and stairwells, windows, if operable, can be opened during and after times of high traffic.

Library

Diagram of a library.
  • 1. Mechanical Ventilation – HVAC system should operate at total supply air flow throughout the day as appropriate.
  • 2. Physical Barrier – Plexiglass barriers should be installed at reception desks.
  • 3. Natural Ventilation – Open windows if operable and no mechanical ventilation is available.
  • 4. Supplemental Filtration – Use air purifiers to increase air changes in the space if building’s HVAC system is unable to.
  • 5A. Physical Distancing – Set single occupancy for each row of books.
  • 5B. Physical Distancing – Use a dropbox for book returns.
  • 5C. Physical Distancing – Arrange desks and seating to be at least 6 feet apart.
  • 6. Hand Hygiene – Place hand sanitizer at multiple easy-to-access locations throughout the library. Encourage students to disinfect their hands before touching shared items (e.g. books, magazines).
  • 7. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Place disinfectant wipes on work spaces and ask students to wipe down surfaces before and after use.
School libraries provide important learning resources to students. Beyond access to books, libraries offer a safe and quiet study environment as well as access to computers and the internet. These facilities and amenities are especially important for low-income communities where analogous services may be unavailable at homes. In planning for school re-openings, libraries are of potential concern because of the unstructured time students may spend in this space before, during and after school. As this is a common space, students will likely interact with others outside of their class pod, which may warrant additional controls. Building HVAC systems with maximized air exchange or air purifiers should be used in this space to increase air exchanges. Given the size of most library spaces, schools should consider placing multiple, high quality air purifiers in strategic locations to maximize their effectiveness. Protocols to facilitate physical distancing should be established such as 2 meters or 6 feet spacing between study/reading spaces and setting single occupancy in bays of books. Placing a plexiglass barrier at the information desk and use of a drop box for book returns can further minimize interactions between librarians and students. Students can also be encouraged to maintain good hand hygiene as well as contribute to disinfecting efforts through the placement of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes at multiple locations across the library space.

Playgrounds

Diagram of a playground.
  • 1. Hand Hygiene – Place hand sanitizer in easily accessible locations. Encourage students to disinfect their hands before touching shared surfaces and items.
  • 2A. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Schools can encourage use of portable toys (balls, sand toys) that can be disinfected between student groups.
  • 2B. Cleaning and Disinfecting – High touch surface areas should be cleaned and disinfected between each group of students.
  • 3. Physical Distancing – Encourage use of play spaces that space students at least 6 feet apart.
Schools should try to maximize students’ use of outdoor recess breaks and playground time. Recess times can be staggered to reduce the total number of children in a play area and interaction between students in different learning pods. Students should wear face masks during recess breaks. Increased teacher supervision is recommended to ensure proper mask use and encourage physical distancing. To promote physical distancing, schools can increase the number of available portable toys, such as balls and sand shovels/buckets. These items can be cleaned and disinfected between groups of students. Play structures are not likely a route of high transmission due to their outdoor exposure. Regularly disinfecting high touch surfaces (i.e. slides, swings) and good hand hygiene by students can further lower risks. Hand sanitizer stations can be placed around a play area to encourage use and students can wash their hands before and after recess breaks.

Transportation

Many students rely on school buses for transportation to and from school. Bus drivers should be screened for COVID-19 symptoms daily. Student occupancy on a bus should be limited to one child per seat. Students should also be seated in a zig-zag pattern to maximize distancing. Hand sanitizer should be placed at the entrance of the bus to encourage children to disinfect their hands while boarding. Increased cleaning and disinfection protocols should be followed; seats, seatbelts and windows should be disinfected between each group of students on the bus. To promote increased airflow through the bus, windows should be kept open whenever possible. Weather will guide the extent to which windows can be opened; however, it is recommended that some windows along the length of the bus be kept open approximately three inches irrespective of weather. Similar to the personal behavior recommendations made for all students and teachers on school property, all students and the bus driver are recommended to wear a mask while on the bus or queuing to board the bus. Departure should be from front to back and should involve physical distancing.

Isolation Room

Schools should make arrangements to dedicate rooms to be individual isolation areas. Students that develop COVID-19-like symptoms during the school day should be taken to this space until they are able to safely return home. Isolation rooms are recommended to be located on an exterior wall to maximize ventilation options and have exterior exits to eliminate infected individuals from mixing with healthy staff and students. It is recommended this space include a bed, if the child needs to lie down and all other furniture be removed to facilitate cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Ideally, a dedicated bathroom will be available for students requiring use of this space. For the purposes of contact tracing, anyone who enters the isolation room should be logged. Anyone who enters the designated isolation room must use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Efficient ventilation systems are critical for isolation rooms. Negative pressure should be maintained in the isolation room to limit dispersion of air into adjoining spaces. Schools should target to have 6 to 10 air changes per hour of total air in this space. For schools with mechanical ventilation, return air from isolation rooms should be exhausted directly outdoors. Schools with natural ventilation can use a window-mounted box fan to exhaust air outdoors. If weather permits, this isolation area can be outdoors in a tent.