Are Schools Combatting COVID-19 with All Available Tools?
As the UK government continues to ease lockdown restrictions up and down the country, and further organizations and businesses are allowed to open, the country seems to be adapting to its new ‘normal’. But with the news that a sizable UK city, Leicester, is to return to lockdown following a surge in cases, and schools are to be closed to most pupils, monitoring for localized outbreaks and having the data available to make decisions on regional lockdowns before they can escalate has never been more important.
An International Debate
One aspect of life that Brits have already expressed a reluctance to return to, is to send their children back to school. A report, following the government’s plan to open schools for specific year groups ahead of the end of the current academic year, has suggested that almost two thirds (60%) of parents feel it would be unsafe to send their children back to school. What is more concerning is that these worries are yet to be addressed properly by the government.
The situation is hardly better in the US, with most schools having remained closed through the end of the 2020 academic year. Parents are equally concerned about children returning so school and many schools are yet to confirm if they will even be open to students in the fall and if so, what that will even look like.
Filling a Critical Gap
As this ongoing debate continues as to whether or not schools should re-open, there appears to be a critical gap in school-based prevention and safety measures within the education sector. However, if the UK government and US school districts were to deploy an in-house COVID-19 safety audit system for every school, parents and teachers alike would be provided with the visibility and accountability to ensure individualized outbreaks in schools are caught early.
The technology already exists and is currently being implemented in other sectors to prevent the spread of the virus by verifying that safety processes are being followed, identifying failures in real-time and thus enabling people to work safely.
It’s All About the Process
Eric Stoop, CEO at EASE explains, “In recent weeks we’ve seen a clear reluctance from parents to send their children back to school, but it’s paramount that children’s education is put back on track. In order to be able to do this safely we need to ensure that proper processes are being followed and can be controlled and monitored.”
“Our software is already being used globally to conduct COVID-19 audits in manufacturing plants to ensure they are able to stay open and keep their employees safe. So there’s no question that this model couldn’t be transferred to schools, universities and colleges, to minimize risk and to avoid any future outbreaks as classrooms become more populated.”
“This type of COVID-19 audit would provide peace of mind to parents, pupils and teachers who will be able to monitor if safety measures are being met and feel confident that they’re sending their children into an environment that is being constantly assessed for potential risks.”