In years past, our back-to-school safety posts focused on helping prepare parents and educators for welcoming students safely back to school. This year, we are facing a new type of danger in schools: COVID-19. With so much uncertainty about how opening schools will impact the spread of the virus, keeping children and teachers safe at school is more complex than ever before and now requires new ways of thinking and operating. Here’s how Vector Solutions is helping schools leverage technology to help keep students, teachers, staff and parents safer in 2020.
In this article, we will explore four ways to use technology to keep students and staff safe during the pandemic. Let’s take a look at them below.
With a highly concerning situation like a global pandemic, rumors and false information can spread quickly and be concerning to parents, staff and students. That’s why Vector has launched a series of COVID-19 online training courses to help keep students, faculty and staff healthy and safe as school districts and institutions of higher education prepare for the upcoming school year. Available through Vector’s SafeSchools and SafeColleges training systems, the customizable course series’ expert content and intuitive features provide the essential training staff and students need to help them understand and follow CDC recommendations to keep themselves and others healthy as they return to school or prepare to learn from home. Additionally, Vector’s Coronavirus Resource Center is designed to educate all learners with straightforward, updated information from trustworthy sources like the Center for Disease Control, and includes resources on how to use cloth face masks, clean and disinfect common spaces and manage stress and anxiety.
Any one who has kids knows that they always know everything that’s going on – usually long before the adults do! Vector’s SafeSchools Alert Tip Reporting System is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; allows for anonymous tip reporting from students and parents; and gives staff the power to track every incident from report to resolution. Automating incident tracking gives schools the power to efficiently manage incident data and a process to log incidents, generate reports, set notifications and reminders, and analyze data and identify problems that need addressing. It’s also flexible enough to use for a broad range of purposes.
From striving for perfect attendance records to considering going to work sick a badge of honor, we’re used to “pushing through” symptoms. Unfortunately, these behaviors put people around us at risk during regular flu seasons, let alone during a crisis like the one we are currently experiencing. Workplace safety programs are a helpful way to avoid incidents like illness and injury in the workplace and we’ve talked before about how you can start a workplace safety program. In the context of schools, many of the same ideas apply, mainly making safety a core value. Communicating that you value the safety of your staff, students and parents is important to ensuring they will buy in and adhere to the safety standards designed to protect them. Ask for feedback, ensure they feel heard and never stop improving, updating or training.
With some kids in the classroom and some remote learning, it can be hard to keep the class connected with each other. Technology can allow for students to continue to interact with each other despite not being in the same location. Programs like Zoom and FaceTime have become daily communication and learning tools now, so having kids be able to join a meeting live is totally possible! With a little coordination, kids can play a game or work on a project together through these video apps. Educators in Florida have even used an educational version of Minecraft to supplement a range of lessons on everything from geometric concepts to climate change. In eLearning, we utilize social learning tools and gamification to keep learners engaged with the material. Using forums, chat features, badges and points may sound silly at first, but they’re fun and are proven to help learners engage with the material. These kinds of features can help remote learners feel like they are still an important part of the class. Microsoft Teams for Education and Google Classroom both integrate with apps and have features to make the experience seamless, like uploading videos to answer questions right from a mobile device.
At Vector Solutions, we are committed to supporting our teachers, staff and students and helping them feel safe at school. This year, the coronavirus has captured our attention as a serious health crisis, but bullying, active shooter incidents, vaping and youth suicide are still real and serious dangers that our schools face. By leveraging the right technology solutions, together we can make an impact on these extremely serious issues and help keep our schools safe.