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Coronavirus and Schools: Making Contingency Preparations

Charter School Capital

March 11, 2020


coronavirus and schoolsCoronavirus and Schools: Making Contingency Preparations

We felt it was important to address the issues around coronavirus and schools and help to provide information to support schools in making plans to prepare for what may come. With the first few cases of community spread coronavirus detected in the U.S., schools across the country should begin taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by developing plans for a range of contingencies ensuring the health and safety of school communities.

  • This is an evolving situation and one that has the best scientists in the world are working hard to understand. At this time, the best way of preventing the spread of any virus – whether coronavirus or the seasonal flu that has hit hard this winter – is to practice good hygiene. These steps are crucial to keeping school communities healthy.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water (scrub for twenty seconds), especially before and after eating, using the restroom, or touching common area surfaces such as railings and countertops.
Tip: ensure soap dispensers in campus restrooms are filled every morning before school begins.
  1. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer.
    Tip: ensure there are sanitizer dispensers readily available in school restrooms and hallways and they are filled every morning before school begins.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Limit close contact, such as sharing straws, cups or utensils.
  4. If you need to cough or sneeze, cover it with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; if you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hand).
  5. If you are sick or think you are sick, DO NOT COME TO SCHOOL. Explicitly state No homework assignment, quiz, game, or performance is worth risking your health or the health of others. Your teachers and coaches will understand if you are absent.

Since this is a dynamic and evolving situation, schools should begin preparing contingency plans including planning for closure. Closures may be for only a few days for a deep clean or for several weeks as a quarantine.

A school should have contingency plans that include:

1) Short term closure
     a) What will trigger closure
     b) How will this be messaged to various stakeholders

2) Long term closure—2 weeks or longer
      a) What will trigger closure
      b) How will this be messaged to various stakeholders
      c) How will students be educated
      d) How will teachers be paid

3) Deep cleaning/sanitizing school
      a) Who will be asked to do this

4) Long term closure homeschool or virtual school academic/curriculum plan
      a) Does school already have a homeschool or virtual component
      b) Does the District or Authorizer have a homeschool or virtual component
       c) Is there a virtual school that would partner

5) Laptop/tablet checkout

6) Working with Authorizers and Districts to ensure there are funding plans in place regardless of closure

7) Financial plan in case of long-term closure or declining enrollment due to illness or quarantine
     a) What austerity measures can school employ now
     b) How will staff and teachers be paid if a school is closed and funding is cut off
      c) What does the lease say in terms of rent deferral if a school is closed due to no fault of the school

We are working on supporting our client schools and are planning a webinar series to help charter school leaders better understand the myths and facts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Join us for our first webinar in the series, Coronavirus: Exposing the Myths from Facts, this Friday, March 13th at 10:00 am.


Stay tuned for our other two webinars in the series:
  • Six Essential Guidelines for Contingency & Communications Planning for COVID-19 | Friday, March 20th | 10:00 A.M. PT
  • COVID-19: Preparing for Attendance and Staffing Issues | Friday, March 27th | 10:00 A.M. PTay tuned for the upcoming webinars in the series:

We will post recorded webinar series on-demand here after each is completed and will continue to update about the coronavirus as the situation demands.

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