Ensuring that there is a safe and confidential space to isolate students and staff who become ill or develop symptoms of COVID-19 during the day is one of the most important prevention strategies for schools. Hand hygiene should be mandatory when entering and leaving school, and a schedule should be created for frequent handwashing, especially for younger children. To reduce absenteeism, it is essential to closely monitor attendance and act quickly when a pattern is noticed. All students, including those participating in face-to-face and distance learning, should have their daily attendance monitored.
Schools should use multi-level strategies to proactively support the attendance of all students, and identify and differentiate interventions to support those at higher risk of absenteeism. Local data should be used to define priority groups whose attendance has been most affected during the pandemic. An attendance action plan with a focus on family participation should be created for any school year. If a teacher or student has been infected with COVID-19, improving ventilation can help prevent virus particles from accumulating in the air.
Schools can use an interactive tool to see how particle levels change as they adjust the ventilation settings and how to reduce particle levels. Vaccination is currently the main public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic, and promoting it can help schools safely return to in-person learning, as well as extracurricular and sports activities. However, since many children are not yet eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, updated guidance emphasizes the most important prevention strategies for in-person learning, regardless of whether schools can implement all prevention strategies.