Contributing Expert: Stanya LeMay
As schools plan for reopening this fall, they are faced with new problems: how to keep the students safe from COVID-19 or any future virus. While there is not enough time to tackle each area of a school, we can provide advice on food delivery and how to social distance seating in the dining areas and classrooms.
We’ve heard from school child nutrition departments across the country regarding their food service plans for the 2020-2021 school year. The main question has been, "How do we make breakfast and lunch accessible to each student while maintaining distance from others?"
In response, mobile carts have been developed for socially distancing students and allow for safe food delivery in cafeterias. Hallway or classroom food delivery carts are most effective when deliveries have to be made to students eating in the classrooms. The mobile serving carts are on casters, offering easy transportation, and built-in shelves allow for safe food storage. The cart's unique design automatically gives 6’ distance and a transparent acrylic shield for additional protection. These carts offer a way to transfer and deliver the food as needed in areas that are not self-service. The carts are durable and affordable, making them accessible to many school districts.
Another trend we are seeing is schools requesting "socially distanced" floor plans for dining areas that include custom graphics to direct traffic and act as visual reminders of cleanliness. Placing signage in areas where essential messages need to be communicated will reinforce the importance of health and safety guidelines to students. Using signage, we can limit the number of seats in a cafeteria by 25% of the original capacity, without reworking the layout.
Schools reopening also brings the challenge of students wearing face coverings and keeping a reasonable distance from their friends. Acrylic barriers are a great way to add protection in the classroom, without hindering the learning experience and allowing for that needed social connection between classmates. Manufacturers have been producing a variety of barriers from desk dividers, dining room table panels, and rolling acrylic partitions for added mobility, wherever it’s needed.
Our COVID-19 solutions offer students and staff a way to come together safely in the fall, from protective barriers, mobile carts, signage, and new floorplan guidelines. Let EIS guide you through these uncertain times and develop solutions that fit your needs. Reach out to us for guidance on your school's "come back" plan.