SMJ Back To School: How to navigate ongoing pandemics and health concerns

With most schools returning to in-person learning, there is still the danger of not just COVID, but now Monkeypox emerging as a possible barrier to learning and playtime. We have a few tips for school administrators and school systems to help keep the lines of communication open with teachers, students and parents regarding health and safety protocols.

Portrait of big African-American family celebrating loving grandmother at dinner outdoors, copy space

Connect with your local board of health

Your first and most important point of contact in these unprecedented times will be your local health board, which of course follows state and federal guidelines. Meeting with the local board of health will give you a guideline to follow as the rules and regulations are updated by the moment, giving you a chance to devise a plan and a course of action that is fluid and beneficial to your staff, students and the community.

Create a clear policy & communications plan

It is vital to be on the same page as staff and administration every day of the school year and in times of pandemic, even more so. Administration and staff should collaborate on a uniform health and safety protocol policy that ensures not just the safety of the students, but the teachers and education professionals who will be walking the halls each day as well. Also, a well thought-out, clear and concise plan of communication with the school community can go a long way and ensure all parties have a clear understanding of how to keep each other safe and healthy.

Happy African family

Keep in constant contact with parents and guardians

Parents of course need to know the procedures set in place by your staff and administration moving forward so that they can have every opportunity to adjust their children’s routines to the changes that will occur as more information about Monkeypox becomes available. Drafting and sending out letters and email updates, as well as using all available social media channels and direct family communication channels/messaging platforms to share verified information and procedure changes, ensures that parents and guardians know what is expected until further notice.

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