As most states begin to emerge from our COVID-19-induced quarantines, it’s not the kick-down-the-doors celebrations that some might have hoped for. Instead, the return to something close to normal is much more measured and deliberate, and that’s the approach you need to take if you’re resuming any kind of activity where people are gathering together—special classes, camps or after-school programs.
What does reopening look like? In many places, it’s opening to smaller crowds. Most states are broadly limiting crowd sizes to 25 percent of regular capacity, and those capacity limits apply to everything from restaurants to gymnastics classes.
So, the first thing to consider when you’re reopening is local regulations. In addition to capacity limitations, most state regulations still suggest following social distancing measures and the wearing of masks as a precaution.
Maintaining distances can be difficult. Very few of us are good at naturally judging what six feet looks like, so make social distancing easier by increasing the spacing in class and limiting class sizes. Also, with kids, be vigilant about watching the spacing between the groups of children who aren’t interacting. It’s also important to adjust class activities as much as possible to help maintain social distancing, including limiting the sharing of equipment between class members.
Also, consider giving participants abundant opportunity to keep themselves safe by both encouraging regular hand washing and also providing sanitizing stations throughout the building. Place automatic sanitizer dispensers at entrances and exits to any room as well as placing additional bottles throughout the classrooms.
Regular Cleaning and Disinfecting
It’s important to establish regular cleaning routines. The CDC has guidelines on not only how to clean but also what should be cleaned.
Regularly clean frequently used and high-touch surfaces with soap and water first. High-touch surfaces include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc. Keep in mind that there are some surfaces, especially around your point-of-sale systems, that may need to be cleaned after every use.
Only disinfect a surface after it’s been cleaned. Use either a mixture of household bleach and water or alcohol-based wipes or sprays that are 70% alcohol. For shared electronics, it’s recommended to place a wipeable cover on the screen.
Even with precautions in place, ongoing monitoring of the health of class leaders and participants is important, so develop and implement procedures that will check for signs and symptoms of infection as people arrive. This should include, according to the CDC, temperature checks and symptom monitoring for anyone who is at higher risk of being infected because they are in areas of high transmission.
Encourage anyone who is feeling sick to stay home, and have a plan in place if someone does become ill. That means communicating regularly with local authorities, your employees and the families who use your services about possible cases, exposures and any new policies or procedures you’ve put in place.
While this reopening might not be coming with the fanfare that we expected, with the proper precautions and the right procedures in place we can safely and slowly return life to normal.
DISCLAIMER: FOR REOPENING SAFELY, IT IS IMPORTANT TO FOLLOW YOUR LOCAL OR STATE ORDERS. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT MEDICAL, HEALTH OR LEGAL ADVICE AND ACTIVE NETWORK, LLC IS PROVIDING THESE SUGGESTIONS BASED ON GUIDELINES PROVIDED BY THE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC).ACTIVE NETWORK, LLC DOES NOT MAKE ANY REPRESENTATION THAT FOLLOWING THESE STEPS WILL PREVENT ANY CURRENT OR FUTURE INFECTIONS OR SICKNESSES OF YOUR EMPLOYEES OR CUSTOMERS AND ACTIVE NETWORK, LLC WILL NOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR ANY RESULTS,POTENTIAL INFECTIONS, OR LEGAL CONSEQUENCES IF YOU DECIDE TO REOPEN YOUR FACILITY/CAMPS/EVENTS BY FOLLOWING THESE SUGGESTED GUIDELINES.