National – MaintenX International is helping school facility managers prepare their buildings for the return of students as cities begin to transition their students back to campus. While these decisions are complex and personal, the CDC recognizes the importance of reopening schools this fall.
Facility managers are in a special position to help protect the well-being of teachers, students, staff and families through the physical experience at a school.
Be Bold and Clear
One major component of bringing students back to campus and being careful to slow the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing. Facility managers should evaluate areas on campus where bottlenecks can occur, especially around high traffic areas like cafeteria entrances and carpool lines and marking out reminders to keep the recommended 6-foot distance between people. This could look like paint marks on sidewalks or installing colored carpet squares in classrooms. This is a fun opportunity to let creativity shine through!
Reenvision, Reconfigure and Repurpose
In alignment with advice from the CDC, facility managers should think about ways to repurpose unused spaces or reenvision how underutilized areas could be reconfigured to better facilitate social distancing. For example, removing non-permanent barrier walls, adding shade options to outdoor areas or rearranging furniture to maximize space can all help maintain a healthy environment on campus.
Don’t Overlook the Usual
Make sure they don’t forget about the usual back-to-school playbook while considering the changes brought on by the pandemic. If a school doesn’t already have a preventative maintenance plan with scheduled evaluations and repairs, this is a great time to put one in place. By executing small, prescribed updates to common facility elements like HVAC/R, alarm and lighting systems, plumbing, and roofs, facility managers can help reduce unexpected breakdowns or expensive repairs that could be made more complicated during these unpredictable times.