As students and teachers across the country transition back to face-to-face learning this year, here are five things to consider to achieve a safe and productive return to school.
Introduce colour into the classroom
Did you know colour plays a key role in creating an environment that fosters learning? Colours can affect neurological pathways in the brain, creating a chemical response that affects how we think and feel.1 Find ways to incorporate colour into school environments using furniture, stationery and encourage students to create colourful arts and crafts to be put on display to create a more welcoming and vibrant environment for your students.
Keep it clean
Shared and frequently touched surfaces in classrooms can quickly become breeding grounds for germs. Routine cleaning and disinfecting of desks, chairs, door handles and any other equipment and surfaces that are frequently touched can minimise outbreaks and help keep your students and staff safe. There is a wide variety of cleaning products made for different surfaces and purposes. Always read product labels and follow instructions to get the best results.
Maintaining good hand hygiene is another effective way to help safeguard students and staff. Handwashing can reduce the transmission of respiratory illnesses like the common cold by up to 21 per cent.2 It is also important to ensure hands are thoroughly dried after washing – a crucial but commonly forgotten step in the handwashing process – as damp hands can carry and transfer up to 1,000 times more bacteria than dry hands.3 Attach handwashing signage on walls in bathrooms, classrooms and staffrooms to remind teachers and students of the correct handwashing and drying techniques.
Find ways to reconnect
With many students having adapted to a learning-from-home experience over the past few months, a great way to help their transition back to the classroom is by facilitating plenty of group activities, encouraging social interaction and finding ways to engage students in teambuilding exercises. Similarly, you can bring your staff together by hosting group brainstorming sessions, workshops and staff lunches. Remember to practice social distancing wherever possible.
Create quiet alcoves
While collaboration is a crucial aspect of learning in the classroom, it’s important to be mindful that many students may have grown used to quiet learning at home. Provide students with areas that allow them to break off individually for quiet working throughout the day. Likewise, allocate an area in the staffroom that allows teachers to focus on individual work and stock complimentary snacks and drinks to provide staff with an energy boost throughout the day.
For all the products you need to make the return to school as smooth as possible, view our wide range of education essentials online.
1Shift eLearning, 2019, ‘The Psychology of Color: How Do Colors Influence Learning?’, <https://www.shiftelearning.com/blog/how-do-colors-influence-learning>
2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020, ‘Cleaning, Disinfection, and Hand Hygiene in Schools – a Toolkit for School Administrators’, <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/clean-disinfect-hygiene.html#Safe>
3Westwick-Farrow Pty Ltd, 2021, ‘What’s happening in workplace washrooms?’, <https://www.hospitalhealth.com.au/content/clinical-services/article/what-s-happening-in-workplace-washrooms–852291653>