The Office of School Safety provides resources, toolkits, and support to create safe, positive, and successful school environments for Colorado students. To ensure social distancing in the classroom and maintain a healthy school environment, a hybrid approach combining face-to-face and online teaching is recommended. Working together as a school community can help reimagine learning spaces and structures while finding solutions to protect public health. One effective strategy for maintaining social distancing in schools is training weekly cohorts, as it reduces the number of people in the building each week and makes it easier to trace contacts if necessary.
School safety and security information is provided to promote a safe environment for students and staff. These resources, combined with additional safety protocols such as monthly fire drills, emergency exercise drills, school emergency plans, and the adoption of the Standard Response Protocol system, help ensure that staff and students are well educated and trained on how to respond appropriately in times of crisis. Research has shown that students who learn outdoors tend to do better in school overall, scoring higher on standardized tests and having a more positive attitude toward school. Outdoor classrooms can be an opportunity to expand classroom areas while avoiding large groups of students gathering together.
An option that doesn't involve all students from school returning at once can help make safety measures more manageable. The program facilitator must be a public benefit corporation or a nonprofit organization operating for a charitable purpose with at least 7 years of experience in student safety, including student transportation safety. To streamline hallways and reduce the chance of student groups mingling while school is in session, label hallways so there's no one-way traffic. Assigning specific entry and exit doors and staggering entry and exit times are two other ways that schools can minimize the number of students gathering around lockers and in hallways at the same time.
In addition to providing more space for appropriate social distancing measures, creating outdoor cafeterias and teaching spaces offers other health and safety benefits. For example, if students attend school in person only two days a week and spend the other three days of the week learning online, half of the students in a class could attend on Mondays and Wednesdays, while the other half would attend in person on Tuesdays and Thursdays.