The recent and ongoing period of ‘lockdown’ in response to the Coronavirus has been life-altering for the UK society, none more so than for education facilities, teaching staff and students. It has become increasingly evident that schools provide a much needed sense of normality and routine for the youngest members of the population.
When the ‘lockdown’ is lifted, there will be a phased plan for returning to normality, albeit a new one. Nurseries, schools, colleges and universities can use this time to prepare their facility for the return of their students, creating ways to observe social distancing in physical education facilities and FASTSIGNS believe that signage can assist you in overcoming that challenge.
Here are six ways we recommend using signage to help re-establish routines and embed new campus procedures that recognise and abide by social distancing practices.
Prevention Notices - A simple but effective measure. By clearly indicating expected behaviours on safety-type signage can help people understand what is expected of them and inform them how to behave. Displaying this information in the universally recognisable safety format of blue signage, with pictorial demonstrations of behaviour and limited but informative text, ensures all members of society recognise that they should take heed of these notices.
Playground Markers - Depending on the age of your student body, they may be required to assemble and distance themselves in the playground for morning bell, break-times, lunch-times and at home-time. To promote social distancing, place markets on the floor to indicate how far apart students should stand. Hard-wearing floor graphics or painted stencils could be used to achieve the desired result.
Sanitiser and Handwashing Notifications - Until the advent of the Coronavirus, we all thought we knew how to maintain hygiene standards. The Coronavirus has served as a reminder for how important it is to regularly and thoroughly wash our hands, as the most effective way of keeping any infection at bay. Placing descriptive hand washing signs in all bathrooms and clearly indicating hand sanitisation stations around your education facility is an excellent preventative measure. Signage design can be created to be age-dependent to ensure message absorption.
Planning a One-way System in Corridors - Moving students from classroom to classroom for their next lesson or lecture has always been a hectic time and could potentially be one of the most difficult occasions, within the school day, to observe social distancing practices. Plan ahead and map out a one-way system that keeps your population moving in the right direction, use directional signage and floor graphics to point the way.
Sneeze Screens - Without creating a harsh barrier between school operational staff and students or school visitors, sneeze screens could help to reduce the spread of infection when students are in breakrooms, at lunchtime serving stations or visiting administrative offices.
Badges and Stickers - For students of a young age, it may be hard for teaching staff to create distance. For older students at high school, college and university, they may wish to display that they are approachable but wish to do so at a safe distance. Help teachers and students reinforce these messages with stickers and badges actings as silent but persistent communicators.
These are just a few recommendations for how schools can use signage to help create a new normal when students return to school after the lockdown is released. If you would like to prepare your school for your cohort’s return, we are more than ready to help.