Transforming Schools to Support Infection Control
The arrival of the novel coronavirus catapulted our world into a new reality where health and safety are at the forefront of infection control and prevention. As the world begins to heal as more people are vaccinated, School Outfitters is continuing to work with schools across the country to help them safely reopen and educate students in person, all within the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Funding is now available from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for K-12 schools to improve ventilation and purchase personal protection equipment, PPEs. Prior to the American Rescue Plan, schools were receiving much needed assistance from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in 2020. Part of the CARES Act also directs funds to post-secondary education, known as Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). This fund aims to defray expenses associated with the coronavirus including technology costs due to distance learning. Another significant component of the CARES Act is the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. Additional emergency funds have been allocated for public school districts and community schools for expenses incurred to continue teaching students during the pandemic. With the financial support of the American Rescue Plan, CARES Act, HEERF and ESSER, K-12 schools, colleges and universities have the much-needed resources for both in person and virtual learning.
There are several key strategies that work in unison to create a healthy and safe school environment – social distancing, disinfecting shared surfaces, wearing PPEs and improving ventilation. Maintaining a safe distance between individuals helps prevent the spread of airborne germs. This can be accomplished with stanchions to direct foot traffic in busy areas like hallways and entrances and social distancing dividers and partitions to carve out space between groups or independent workstations. Collaborative workspaces can be easily converted with table and desk dividers, allowing students to be in proximity of one another but shielded from germs.
Shared surfaces and school furnishings require frequent sanitization to eliminate touch contamination. School Outfitters carries antimicrobial desks, activity tables, lockers, chairs and stools, just to name a few. All have built-in properties that work to inhibit the growth of bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms, day in and day out. For dining areas, cafeteria and folding tables are designed with antimicrobial edge bands to prevent microorganisms from getting trapped and growing. In learning spaces, antimicrobial and washable rugs, non-porous porcelain whiteboards, vinyl tack boards, cots and rest mats, plus so much more. We also carry two styles of convenient UV disinfection lights for easy sanitizing, portable wands and cabinets.
Within our personal protection equipment, or PPE, we have all the essentials that promote healthy habits and good hygiene. Find face masks that are either disposable or reusable, face shields, disposable gloves, safety goggles and glasses. Hand sanitizer stations provide another layer of infection control with free-standing and portable units. We even carry sanitization carts that can easily be moved throughout the school whenever needed. These special carts are designed to hold PPEs, hand sanitizer and waste all in one convenient location.
Improving the air quality that circulates throughout classrooms and other learning spaces can be easily accomplished with air purifiers. These are equipped with True-HEPA filters to remove 99.97% of contaminants from the air as small as 0.3 microns. This size is significant as it is the same size as many viruses and bacteria. With easy-to-read indicator lights room occupants instantly know when the air is clean.
School Outfitters has an entire category of products and furnishings to help schools and businesses promote healthy and safe environments for students, teachers, employees and customers.