Great Solution to Support Schools in COVID-19 Era
Article originally published on Chalkbeat Indiana
How do schools meet the challenge of safely staying open? This is a hard question, particularly when children – mostly teens – now make up 10% of all U.S. COVID-19 cases, according to the Associated Press (AP). With nearly 2,400 COVID-19 cases reported in Indiana shortly after schools reopened, the Wall Street Journal rings true: “in-person learning is fragile, anxiety-ridden and complicated. Staying open is hard-fought.”
To reduce the possibility of infection at in-person schools, school officials must deliberately take steps to “minimize risk,” reports the AP.
Mt. Vernon Schools in Indiana found a unique solution to help beat the odds. When CDC guidelines for reopening first came out, many schools experienced major challenges in “trying to figure this out,” explained Dr. Jack Parker, Mt. Vernon Schools superintendent.
But when COVID-19 cases hit Mt. Vernon this fall, a tailor-made safety asset was already in place. Safely nearby the high-traffic nurse’s station, a CDC-compliant temporary quarantine room (TQR) stood ready. Produced by Hamilton Exhibits LLC in Indianapolis, the multi-purpose and easily sanitized TQR provides a private place to help protect students – reassuring parents of Mt. Vernon’s active commitment to safety and helping keep the school out of national headlines.
Why is the TQR needed? The Superintendent explains that for CDC-recommended student safety reasons, “Isolation is really important. If somebody comes to our school with a symptom of COVID-19, the first thing we do is we get them isolated.”
Some schools had resorted to shower curtains, visqueen plastic, and duct tape to fashion a temporary quarantine area. According to Dr. Parker, the TQR takes out the guesswork and fulfills this essential need, particularly around busy school nurse offices.
The result? “The Mt. Vernon Middle School has greatly benefited from the TQR being in our building,” said Benjamin Williams, principal. “The TQR is used every day and provides a safe and comfortable environment for students in need of the space.”
In addition to the TQR which Dr. Parker deems “a great solution,” Hamilton developed a full line of innovative safety products to help actively support student safety, all offered on an “at cost” basis.
These products “help take the burden off of planning for and complying with safety measures by school officials in these challenging times,” said Jason Weddle, COO of Hamilton.
A few months ago, this Indiana company was focused on crafting unique brand experiences for national high-tech brands like Rolls-Royce, Baxter Healthcare, and Cummins, Inc. Now, Hamilton provides schools in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, and elsewhere with specialty Hamilton safety products.
What is the safety process? Following state and CDC directives, parents are notified to come pick up any student to exhibits COVID-19 symptoms. The student can safely await their parent or guardian inside of the TQR. The professional quality design of the TQR promotes normalization of the situation and helps reduce anxiety.
Dr. Parker and other Mt. Vernon school administrators explain how this works.
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