Going Back to School in a COVID World

With school systems around the country deciding how to make sure children have an education, some people's anxiety levels are sky-high. My school system just started back to school on a staggered schedule. At the time I'm writing this (because it could change at any minute), students attend school twice on that schedule and then everyone who hasn't opted for virtual learning comes back. 

How are things going to look?

What is Speech/Language Therapy going to look like during this time? In my room, it's not going to look much different. Sure, I'll stay away from play-dough (I did that anyway!) and sensory bins. I'm still going to get out my articulation cards, except I'll be the one turning the cards and I'll be wearing gloves. ('Cause, y'all...I'm the world's worst at touching my face!) My procedures will look very much the same as they did pre-pandemic.  My students have been trained to not touch the doorknob to my room to cut down on the germs, so that's one less thing I have to teach them.  The students will get a squirt of hand sanitizer (or "hanitizer" as they call it) as they step in the room. I'll have their speech folders (with their homework) laid out on top of a cabinet so they aren't touching. I'm very fortunate that it's rare when I have more than 2 students in a group, so I'll have one student on one end of the table and the other student on the other end. For PPE, I'll have on a clear mask and a face shield as well as gloves. I plan on having the students wipe down their spot & spray their chairs (with non-toxic spray provided by my system) before they leave. 

The students will bring their personal items with them: crayons, scissors, etc. For BOOM Cards, they will bring their own Chromebook since we're a 1:1 school system. It doesn't sound too complicated, does it?

Just 5 things

I can boil my plan down to 5 things:

1. Wash, wash, wash.
    My students & I will be washing our hands and/or using hand sanitizer a lot more. 

2. Wipe, wipe, wipe.
    The table will be wiped down after every group...not just some of them.

3. Spray, spray, spray.
    Not only will I use the non-toxic spray provided, but I also have some anti-microbial 
    spray that I will be spraying in my little room at one of my schools. I have a full-sized 
    classroom at my other school so I'll be using my essential oil diffuser with germ- 
    fighting oils in that room.

4. Cover, cover, cover. 
    We'll wear masks in the hall going to & coming from my room. In the room, I'll wear 
     a clear mask, face shield, and gloves. 

5. Train, train, train.
     I don't think it will take long to train my students to wipe the table after their group. 
     After 3 days of school, the students act like they've been wearing masks and       
     social distancing all their lives. 

All in all, it's not going to be much different than the precautions during flu season. The key here is to not freak out. I realize immune systems are different from person to person. I'm going to do my best to make sure everyone is comfortable with coming to Speech and that the parents know I'm doing my best to keep them safe. 

My theme song for this year:

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