Precautions to Take When Going Back to School, Work, Restaurants, Etc. During the Coronavirus Pandemic

National Center for Health Research, June 8, 2020


With millions of people seeking advice on safely resuming their lives, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued recommendations to help schools, businesses, and others into the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

Their guidelines aim to help individuals decide what is safe for them and to help schools and businesses decide whether to reopen, how to reduce infection, and how to monitor employees for COVID19 symptoms.

Schools, Camps, and Child Care

The guidance includes important reminders about coronaviruses and helps you develop your plan if you are the one to evaluate your workplace, school, home, or business.  It helps you determine what needs to be cleaned vs. what needs to be disinfected, as well as consider the resources and equipment you will need for this plan.  And, it outlines steps for you to implement your plan (and revise your plan if need be).

Here are the suggested steps as you develop your plan and start to clean:

  • First, clean the surface or object with soap and water
  • Then, disinfect using an EPA-approved disinfectant
  • If an EPA-approved disinfectant is unavailable, you can use 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions to disinfect. Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together. Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.  You can find additional information at CDC’s website on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility

You can learn more about what specific measures to take below:

Schools: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/Schools-Decision-Tree.pdf

Youth Programs and Camps: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/Camps-Decision-Tree.pdf

Child Care Programs: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/Childcare-Decision-Tree.pdf

 

Restaurants and Bars

It recommends that restaurants and bars “encourage social distancing [of 6 feet] and enhance spacing at establishments,” by “spacing of tables/stools, limiting party sizes and occupancy, avoiding self-serve stations, restricting employee shared spaces, [and] rotating or staggering shifts, if feasible.”

Here are more details: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/community/restaurants-and-bars-decision-tree.pdf

 

Transportation

It advises mass transit systems to “limit routes to and from high transmission areas” before resuming full service.  It also includes advice about social distancing, cleaning, and disinfecting. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/pdf/MassTransit-DecisionTree.pdf

 

General Advice:  the CDC reminds you how to maintain safe behavior to reduce your chances of becoming infected or spreading the virus to others

  • social distancing (stay 6 feet away from others when you must go into a shared space)
  • frequently washing hands or use alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
  • wearing cloth face coverings
  • avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth
  • staying home when you have any symptoms
  • cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces

With no vaccine or cure, this advice is still essential, especially as more people go back to work, protest in groups, or have social gatherings. The CDC also provides additional resources with more specific recommendations. To read the full reopening guidelines, visit the CDC’s page here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html

Resources

All information for this article has been taken from the CDC’s recommendation guidelines. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes” May 7, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html