Teachers, substitute teachers, paraprofessionals, and specialists

The overall guidance for prevention and control in this document will suffice in most standard classroom or school environments. Some teachers and staff may encounter work situations that require modifying or adapting policies or procedures due to the nature of the work required, including:

When social distancing cannot be maintained

K-12 staff will not always be able to maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and students. This issue may be of particular concern to paraprofessionals, therapists, and other staff who have close and consistent contact with students with disabilities. These teachers and staff are considered to be in the same general risk category as direct service providers who provide similar services outside of the school setting. In these cases, additional steps must be taken to ensure the safety of the staff and the students by reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 spread, through adopting additional control measures, such as:

Using physical barriers (e.g., plexiglass or similar materials, other impermeable dividers or partitions) to separate staff and students from each other in classrooms or other shared spaces.
Reducing exposure amount by reducing daily caseloads, where feasible.
Relocating workspaces to the best ventilated spaces in the building.
Wearing a cloth face covering or mask as much as possible during service delivery.
Considering adaptations and alternatives, whenever possible, to increase the feasibility of wearing a cloth face covering or mask to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.
Considering whether service providers may need additional protective equipment for some interactions with students. See CDC’s Guidance for Direct Service Providers for additional information.

When a cloth face covering or mask cannot be worn by staff (or some students)

CDC recognizes that wearing cloth face coverings or masks may not be possible in every situation or for some people. In some situations, wearing a cloth face covering or mask may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition or introduce significant safety concerns. Wearing cloth face coverings or masks may be difficult for people with sensory, cognitive, or behavioral issues. Masks prevent reading lips and observing facial expressions. Individuals requesting mask exemptions may be asked by the employer to provide documentationexternal icon regarding why the accommodation is necessary. This health information should be kept confidential, in accordance with applicable federal and state privacy laws and regulations. Adaptations and alternatives should be considered, whenever possible, to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when wearing a cloth face covering or mask is not feasible.

When K-12 administrators and staff need to visit multiple locations or worksites

In addition to the general considerations to be followed above, administrators and staff that move from location to location throughout the day should take special care to not spread COVID-19 between sites during their movements. Ways to prevent spread in these cases include:

Janitors and maintenance staff
Implement enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices

Develop a schedule and daily checklist for increased, routine cleaning and disinfection. An established schedule can avoid under- or over-use of cleaning products.
Establish a comprehensive written protocol for increased cleaning and disinfection of areas, such as classrooms, communal dining halls or cafeterias, restrooms, locker rooms, office work areas, break areas, and common spaces, that ensures routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces (e.g., desks, door knobs, time clocks, microwave or refrigerator handles, sinks, dispensers, vending machine touchpads).
Consider whether cleaning and disinfecting may be necessary at the following times:

In the morning before students and staff arrive
Between classes
Between use of shared surfaces or objects
Before and after meals
Before students return from recess
After students leave for the day

Select disinfectant products on List Nexternal icon with asthma-safer ingredientsexternal icon (citric acid or lactic acid) to reduce the risk of asthma and other health effects related to disinfecting, as recommended by the US EPA Design for Environment program.

Ensure all employees performing cleaning have access to cleaning products’ safety data sheets (SDSs) and are informed of potential hazards and trained on the associated safe practices per the information found in the SDSs.
Minimize exposure to cleaning and disinfectant chemicals, without compromising disinfection, by referring to the Cleaning and disinfection in K-12 school worksites section above.
Train staff who use cleaners and disinfectants on the comprehensive written protocol to read and interpret all instruction labels and understand safe and appropriate use.
Provide easy-to-understand instructional materials and training in languages other than English, as needed.

Ventilation considerations during cleaning and disinfecting

Refer to the Ventilation section when cleaning and disinfecting to prevent overexposure to chemicals.

Provide and encourage use of necessary personal protective equipment (PPE)

Custodial staff and any other staff who clean and disinfect the school site should have access to proper PPE, including gloves, eye protection, respiratory protection, and other appropriate PPE, as required by the product instructions in the SDS and appropriate training in their safe use.

If respiratory protection is recommended on the SDS, consider using a respirator with a combination cartridge for chemicals and particulate exposure.

Maintenance workers who perform routine maintenance of the HVAC system, especially checking or replacing filters and dust build up, need to use appropriate PPE.
If respirators are needed, they must be used in the context of a comprehensive respiratory protection program that includes medical exams, fit testing, and training in accordance with OSHA’s Respiratory Protectionexternal icon standard (29 CFR 1910.134external icon).

Discard disposable gloves after each cleaning. For reusable gloves, dedicate a pair for disinfecting surfaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19. After removing gloves, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Some barriers (butyl rubber, natural rubber, neoprene rubber, nitrile rubber, and polyvinylchloride) may offer better protection for a variety of chemicals than other barriers. More information on recommended barriers for common disinfectants can be located on the CDC cleaning and disinfecting webpage.

For additional information, please see the Resources section at the end of this document.

Office staff

Review the considerations in the CDC document COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings.
Modify or adjust seats, furniture, and workstations to maintain social distancing of 6 feet between office staff, where possible and incorporating accessibility requirements.
Install transparent shields or other physical barriers, where possible, to separate office staff and visitors where social distancing is not an option.
Arrange chairs in reception or other communal seating areas, by turning, draping (covering chair with tape or fabric so seats cannot be used), spacing, or removing chairs, to maintain social distancing.
Use methods to physically separate staff in all areas of the building, including work areas and other areas such as meeting rooms, break rooms, parking lots, entrance and exit areas, and locker rooms.
Use signs, tape marks, or other visual cues, such as decals or colored tape on the floor, placed 6 feet apart, to show where to stand when physical barriers are not possible.
Replace high-touch communal items, such as coffee pots and bulk snacks, with alternatives such as pre-packaged, single-serving items. Encourage office staff to bring their own water to minimize use and touching of water fountains or consider installing no-touch activation methods for water fountains.
In accordance with your school’s comprehensive written cleaning and disinfecting protocol, clean and disinfect all surfaces, at least daily, that are frequently touched by multiple people, such as door handles, desks, light switches, faucets, workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, printer/copiers, and drinking fountains. More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on level of use.

For additional information, please see the Resources section at the end of this document.

School nutrition staff

There is no evidence to indicate spread of COVID-19 through food. To maintain environments that are as safe as possible for school nutrition professionals, school administrators who oversee cafeterias and kitchens should review the following considerations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These steps supplement the general considerations for protecting all school staff, presented above, and CDC’s Considerations for Schools.

Provide support for school nutrition professionals to protect themselves and others.

Consider the following actions:

As feasible, have children eat meals in classrooms or outdoors, while maintaining social distance as much as possible, instead of in a communal dining hall or cafeteria.
Limit offering any self-serve food or drink options, such as hot and cold food bars, salad or condiment bars, and drink stations. If possible, serve individually plated or pre-packaged meals instead.
Create physical barriers to protect school nutrition professionals and those they serve, including students and other school staff.
Use tape to mark workstations (boxes or stripes on the floor) 6 feet apart in kitchens, food service, and food delivery points where interactions with students or other staff occur.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as kitchen countertops, refrigerator handles, cafeteria and service tables, door handles, carts, trays, tables, chairs, turnstiles, and countertops, throughout the day. Follow the directions on the cleaning product’s label and wash hands afterwards to prevent skin irritation.
Train nutrition professional staff on protecting themselves and others. Consider conducting training virtually or, if in-person, ensure that physical distancing is maintained.
Place posters where they are likely to be seen, including in kitchens or common areas, that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and good hand hygiene.
Provide appropriate cloth face coverings or masks, gloves, and other appropriate equipment to provide protection from colleagues, students, and workspaces.

Follow steps for safe meal preparation

Install plastic or plexiglass barriers between workstations to protect staff in situations where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
Plan menus, production, and food preparation schedules to allow employees to maintain the recommended social distance of 6 feet while working, when possible.
Assign one person for each task or workstation, as feasible.
Limit the number of staff accessing storage areas or large equipment, like refrigerators.
Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by staff.
Implement a plan for curbside pickup of meals or contactless delivery service (if applicable, in event of school dismissal) to minimize contacts with students and their families, when possible.
Require staff to wear cloth face coverings or masks.

For additional information, please see the Resources section at the end of this document.

School nurses/health professionals

Similar to other school employees, school nurses/healthcare professionals should be familiar with the general recommendations for all school employees. They should also be familiar with Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic. Some of the topics that are most relevant to the school clinic setting include:

Training on the use and care of PPE. School administrators should select appropriate PPE and provide it to school nurses/health professionals in accordance with OSHA PPE standards (29 CFR 1910 Subpart I).external icon School nurses/health professionals must receive training on and demonstrate an understanding of:

when to use PPE
what PPE is necessary
how to properly don, use, and doff PPE in a manner to prevent self-contamination
how to properly dispose of or disinfect and maintain PPE
the limitations of PPE

Recommended infection prevention and control (IPC) practices for routine healthcare delivery during the pandemic, which include:

Screen and triage everyone entering a healthcare facility (e.g., nurse’s office, school-based health center/clinic (SBHC)) for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
Implement universal source control measures.
Limit occupancy in health offices and isolation rooms to adhere to physical distancing guidance, as much as possible.
Practice hand hygiene.
Ensure enhanced ventilation in health care delivery spaces in schools or relocate them into workspaces with enhanced ventilation.

Implement universal use of PPE for school healthcare staff.

Provide appropriate PPE, at no cost, to healthcare staff.

Surgical facemasks are preferred over cloth face coverings or other masks for HCPs, as surgical facemasks offer both source control and protection for the wearer against exposure to fluids, respiratory droplets, and large particles from others.
Eye protection in areas with moderate to substantial community transmission.

For aerosol generating procedures (AGPs), an N95 or equivalent or higher-level respirator is recommended instead of a surgical facemask. However, AGPs should rarely be necessary in school clinics.
Special considerations should be given to children with asthma who use “breathing treatments” or peak flow meters. In brief:

Due to limited availability of data, it is uncertain whether aerosols generated by nebulizer treatments are potentially infectious. During the COVID-19 pandemic, nebulizer treatments at school should be reserved for children who cannot use or do not have access to an inhaler (with or without spacer or face mask).
Use of peak flow meters, including in the school setting, includes forceful exhalation. Based on limited available data, forceful exhalation is not considered an aerosol-generating procedure associated with increased risk of transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19. However, for some people with asthma, using a peak flow meter can trigger cough.

Train healthcare staff on correct use of PPE.

More details about all of the topics in the list above can be found in Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic.

For additional information, please see the Resources section at the end of this document.

School bus drivers and bus aides

School bus drivers and bus aides, as well as other school staff, have the potential to come into contact with the virus that causes COVID-19 by:

Being in close contact with other people at the worksite, which can include students, coworkers, and maintenance workers.
Assisting passengers with a disability.
Touching or handling high-contact surfaces and equipment and then touching their face, mouth, nose, or eyes.

School systems can implement a number of strategies to reduce risk of transmission on buses:

Whenever possible, drivers and aides should open bus windows to increase circulation of outdoor air, but not if doing so might pose a safety or health risk (e.g., risk of falling).
School bus drivers and bus aides should practice all safety actions and protocols as indicated for other school staff (e.g., hand hygiene). Similar to other frequently touched surfaces, bus surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected after each use of the bus using EPA-approved disinfectantsexternal icon. Special care should be exercised when performing disinfection to avoid overexposures to disinfectants in poorly ventilated buses.
Schools should consider having spare cloth face coverings or masks available to ensure all students wear cloth face coverings or masks on the school bus.
During dismissal, schools should provide physical guides, such as signs or tape on the sidewalk, to help students and school staff remain at least 6 feet apart while waiting for transportation. Whenever circumstances safely allow, waiting for transportation should take place outdoors.
Establish, where possible, physical barriers between school bus drivers and students.

Use strip curtains, plastic barriers, or similar materials to create impermeable dividers or partitions.
Consider leaving seats near the driver open if barriers cannot be used.

Consider making foot-traffic unidirectional in narrow or confined areas in the bus to encourage social distancing. For example, by loading the bus from back to front and unloading from front to back.
Place hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol at the entrance of the school bus and encourage safe use when getting on/off the bus for driver and students.

Use touch-free stations where possible.
Supervise young children when they use hand sanitizer.

Provide disposable disinfecting wipes and other cleaning materials and conduct targeted and more frequent cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (wheelchair lifts, wheelchair securements, handrails, and areas in the driver cockpit commonly touched by the driver).
Maintain social distancing in the bus, including at entry doors.

Limit the number of students in the bus at one time. Consult state and local guidance, if available.
Drivers and aides should create distance between children on school buses, including seating children one student per row facing forward and skipping rows between students. Children from the same household can sit together, if needed.
It may be difficult to maintain physical distancing by school bus drivers and attendants who are required by state regulation to exit the bus to help students cross the street or assist students while on the bus. A balance for crossing streets safely, caring for the student, and keeping a safe physical distance is encouraged. Use of more protective facial coverings would help decrease risk of transmission. See the Special Considerations – Teachers, substitute teachers, paraprofessionals, and specialists section above.

Encourage using cloth face coverings or masks. However, masks should not be worn by drivers and aides if their use creates a new risk (e.g., interference with driving or vision, contribution to heat-related illness) that exceeds their COVID-19 related benefits of slowing the spread of the virus.

For additional information, please see the Resources section at the end of this document.

Coaching staff and athletic trainers

Administrators should make decisions about restarting extracurricular athletic activities, in collaboration with local health officials, based on a number of factors. These factors include the level of community transmission, whether cases are identified among students, teachers, or staff, and what other indicators local public health officials are using to follow COVID-19. In addition, administrators should consider the transmission risk of the particular sport (e.g., cross country and tennis generally pose a lower risk than wrestling, outdoor sports generally pose a lower risk than indoor sports, etc.) and the ability to mitigate transmission risk, and whether student, teacher, and staff cohorts are being used in the school.

Coaching staff and athletic trainers might come into contact with the virus that causes COVID-19 by:

Being in close contact with other people at the worksite, which can include coworkers and students.
Touching or handling high-contact surfaces and equipment, and then touching their face, mouth, nose, or eyes.

School systems can implement a number of strategies to reduce COVID-19 risk for coaching staff and athletic trainers:

Develop plans to communicate with students, parents, and staff regarding modifications to gym or exercise facilities.
Modify or adjust cardio equipment, free weight areas, weight training equipment, and classrooms to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet between students and coaching staff and athletic trainers.
Establish, where possible, physical barriers between staff and between staff and students for training, practices, and competitions.

Install cleanable, transparent shields or other barriers to physically separate coaching staff and athletic trainers and students where distancing is not an option (e.g., between pieces of equipment that cannot be moved).
Use strip curtains, plastic barriers, or similar materials to create impermeable dividers or partitions.

Encourage social distancing of at least 6 feet between staff and students in all areas of the facility such as work-out areas, classrooms, pools, courts, walking/running tracks, locker rooms, parking lots, and in entrance/exit areas.
Encourage social distancing during all workout activities.
Consider making foot-traffic unidirectional in narrow or confined areas, such as aisles and stairwells, to encourage single-file movement at a distance of 6 feet or more.
Provide disposable disinfecting wipes and other cleaning materials and conduct targeted and more frequent cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (free weights, exercise equipment, cardio machines, locker rooms (if in use), vending machines, railings and door handles, countertops, doorknobs, toilets, tables, light switches, phones, faucets, sinks, keyboards, etc.).
Clean and disinfect all exercise equipment and tools between users.
Consider removing hard-to-clean items and equipment, such as exercise bands, rubber mats, foam rollers, and yoga blocks.
Consider opening sections of the facility in phases.

Consider limiting locker room access to the restroom area only, prohibiting the use of shower and changing areas.
Consider closing water stations and water fountains if students have alternative water access.

Encourage staff (and students) to bring their own water bottles to minimize use and touching of water fountains or consider installing no-touch activation methods for water fountains.

Determine if any additional modifications can be made to minimize the risk of transmission, such as reducing class sizes, moving to larger areas or holding classes outdoors, and removing shared yoga mats and asking students to bring their own.
Consider cloth face covering or mask use where feasible (refer to Considerations for Wearing Masks) when engaging in high impact activities.
Consider having coaches use a portable amplifier to keep voices at a low, conversational volume.

For additional information, please see the Resources section at the end of this page.

Music, choir, and performing arts teachers

Administrators should make decisions about restarting extracurricular performing arts activities, in collaboration with local health officials, based on a number of factors. These factors include the level of community transmission, whether cases are identified among students, teachers, or staff, what other indicators local public health officials are using to follow COVID-19, and whether student, teacher, and staff cohorts are being implemented within the school.

Singing or playing wind and brass instruments can generate respiratory droplets and aerosols that may contain the COVID-19 virus if a person is infected.

Some general considerations for music and performing arts include:

Reinforce use of cloth face coverings or masks by all students and staff when not singing or playing an instrument that requires the use of their mouth (unless class is outdoors and distance can be maintained).
Consider conducting the class in an outdoor/open environment or under an open tent.

Ensure outdoor classes are safe from other hazards, such as heat, cold, and air pollution.
If the class is held indoors, ensure the ventilation system is optimized with regard to flow rate and filtration. Refer to the Ventilation section above for more information.

Consider having teachers use a portable amplifier to keep voices at a low, conversational volume.
Limit the number of students at one time in storage and backstage areas.
Install transparent shields or other physical barriers, where possible, to separate the students and staff.
Maintain social distancing to protect students and staff.

Music instruction

Develop plans to communicate with students regarding safety expectations during music classes.
Practice cohorting; rehearsals should be conducted in “pods” of students with the same 5-10 students always rehearsing together.
Limit exchange (or sharing) of any instruments, parts, music sheets, or any other items.
Modify or adjust seating arrangements during music classes to allow for a minimum of 6 feet between students and music teachers. This may reduce the number of students that can fit in a performing arts classroom.
Establish, where possible, physical barriers between staff and between staff and students.

Install cleanable, transparent shields or other barriers to physically separate music staff and students.
Use strip curtains, plastic barriers, or similar materials to create impermeable dividers or partitions.

Use disposable absorbent pads or other receptacles, where possible, to catch the contents of spit valves; discard and clean properly after use.
Consider using “bell covers” for the openings of brass instruments and specially designed bags with hand openings for woodwind instruments to minimize the generation of droplets and aerosols.

Theater and dance

Limit, where possible, sharing of props, costumes, and wigs.
Clean and disinfect dressing rooms, green rooms, and production areas using an EPA-registered household disinfectantexternal icon.
Consider holding virtual or outdoor performances instead of indoor performances.
Reinforce social distancing and cloth face covering or mask use for staff and students when students are not singing or playing an instrument that requires the use of their mouth (unless class is outdoors and distance can be maintained).



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