Safe Practices for In-Person Learning: CDC and Department of Education Publish New Operational Strategies

Safe Practices for In-Person Learning

Together, the CDC and The U.S. Department of Education (ED) have launched a comprehensive, all-in-one operational strategy for K-12 schools to safely reopen and remain open. In February 2021, the CDC released a new roadmap, “Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation,” which recommends key strategies to safely return to and maintain in-person learning. To support the CDC roadmap and provide additional information and resources, ED released the first volume of its COVID-19 Handbook, “Volume 1: Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools.” 

Both publications recognize that schools must take a layered approach for the greatest protection. This layered approach—and the five key strategies recommended by the CDC—include wearing masks, physical distancing, hand washing, cleaning and disinfecting facilities, and contact tracing. The ED also recommends schools require students and educators to screen for COVID-19 symptoms at home. 

Below we discuss how Raptor supports schools with both contact tracing and keeping those with COVID-19 exposure risk from entering their buildings. 

Contact Tracing is a Critical Mitigation Strategy

One of the five key strategies recommended by the CDC is “contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the health department.” Contact tracing is a crucial strategy to stop COVID-19’s transmission by informing those that may have been exposed so they can monitor their health, get tested, and self-isolate. 

Contact tracing requires prompt action because the faster schools can alert others that they were exposed, the faster they can help reduce the virus’s spread. Handwritten sign-in logs can fail to capture the data necessary for accurate contact tracing. Further, relying on paper logs to facilitate contact tracing can be extremely cumbersome 

 Raptor Visitor Management tracks every individual using the system to sign in, automatically recording their contact information and when exactly they were in your school. These details are available in a downloadable report, giving you instant access to the information you need to effectively and promptly contact trace should a person who visited your school subsequently test positive, which has happened to nearly 50% of those who responded to a recent Raptor survey.  

This rapid identification and ability to inform others that they were potentially exposed to an infected individual helps stop the virus from spreading to anyone else. 

Screening for Exposure Risk is Necessary

The ED report recommends that students and staff members screen themselves for symptoms at homeadding that “district and school leaders will need to establish ways of reminding people of the symptoms and asking them to check” so that students and staff members get into the habit of checking for symptoms each day.  

With the Raptor Remote Screening Module, you can automatically send daily questionnaires to staff members and each student’s guardian to answer before heading to school. This questionnaire can quickly be answered on the individual’s mobile device or computer and automatically recommends if the student or staff member should stay home or attend school based on the provided answers.  

Raptor enhances your ability to keep those with exposure risk out by also enabling you to screen students, staff, and visitors on site when they sign into the system at school. Raptor can immediately notify the appropriate personnel should an individual be identified as a potential risk or if someone with known exposure attempts to check in to a building.  

All the data from these screenings is stored in the system so school administrators can quickly see results, create robust reports, and have the visibility needed. As of February 2021, our health screening questions are being used in over 4,200 schools and has screened students over one million times, staff over 471K times, and visitors over 820K times since July. 

Visitor Management COVID-19 Screening

Be Ready to Reopen with Raptor

Raptor Visitor Management eliminates uncertainty. The system helps keep your school community safe from COVID-19 exposurescreens for sex offenders, alerts staff of custody issues, provides district-wide reporting, and integrates with the Raptor K-12 integrated safety platform 

To learn more about how Raptor can help with your COVID-19 response and long-term school safety approach, visit our COVID-19 resource page or contact us today. 

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