Return to school: temperature control, hand washing, masks. The rules collected by the virologist


The virologist Guido Silvestri, professor in the USA at Emory University in Atlanta, collects in his “Pills of optimism” the common rules for anti-covid safety 19 of the guidelines for the reopening of schools: from hand washing to body temperature measurement.

Silvestri points out that some precautions are common or similar in all guidelines, even if they are sometimes implemented differently. Then he summarizes them:

● Checking the temperature at the entrance (Singapore recommends checking twice a day). A contact report and any trips abroad are also required.
● Management of symptoms if detected: in some countries / schools the child is immediately sent back to quarantine for the first symptoms, in some countries he can return after 48 hours if not in contact with some COVID sufferer.
● Directives for general school cleaning: frequent cleaning during the day also by the students themselves (Norway and Singapore); use of special ventilation and open windows to circulate the air; many Asian countries also disinfect common areas.
● “Social distancing”: the solutions adopted on this aspect are various: reduced classes unless the rooms are large; students divided into small groups; alternation morning / afternoon or different days or hybrid system half online and half at school (this point naturally raises critical issues for working parents); desks with transparent plastic dividers (China and Taiwan); use of common and external areas for teaching; lunches with distant places and greater monitoring by adults; personal lunch, “lunch box”, brought from home (in Anglo-Saxon countries it is already so normally); some schools eliminate sports, others prefer outdoor spaces and small groups that alternate in various external or internal areas. It appears evident, at least for some of these recommendations, the objective application complexity and, sometimes, even the impossibility of realizing it in the Italian school infrastructure context.
● Arrival procedures: staggered entrances, parents not allowed in the school, designated routes inside to avoid contrary flows in the same corridor.
● Hygiene:

○ Masks for students (for the teaching staff they are always mandatory in the countries analyzed): in China and Taiwan they are compulsory respectively from 3 years and 5 years (provided free of charge by the government) when social distance cannot be kept. They are also mandatory in Germany, Belgium and Spain and according to the current indications of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also in America from 6 years upwards where social distancing cannot be implemented [15]. In Denmark, Switzerland, the UK, France, the Netherlands and Norway, these are not required. In Austria, they are mandatory only when entering and leaving school. In Switzerland they are not compulsory even for teachers.
○ Hand washing: every 2 hours everywhere. On this point there seems to be cohesion in the directives.

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