How Schools Can Plan for Student Drop-Off and Pick-Up During COVID-19
In any regular year, pick-up and drop-off are hectic times of the school day. Now, with increased regulations in place, they are even more so. Here is a step-by-step guide to ensure you meet health and safety guidelines as students check-in and out of school each day.
Basics of Arrival & Departure During COVID
Pick-up and drop-off of children should occur outside the childcare setting unless there is a need for the parent or caregiver to enter the facility (e.g., very young children). If a parent must enter the setting, they should maintain physical distance from staff and other children present and be reminded to practice diligent hand hygiene and maintain physical distance when they are in the facility.
If there are multiple entrances, pick-up and drop-off can be split at separate entrances to avoid parents and caregivers gathering in large numbers.
- Schools should employ touchless attendance if possible.
- If using pen-and-paper, parents and caregivers should use their own pen and avoid touching the sign-in/out sheet directly.
- Parents and caregivers should practice hand hygiene before and after touching the sign-in/out sheet or kiosk.
- Schools should stagger the timings of pick-up and drop-off.
Establishing Points of Entry and Exit
- Have clearly labeled, dedicated entrances for all children and parents.
- Limit access to parents at the entrance of the facility.
Creating Safe Check-In and Out Policies
- Place markers for social distancing, in the event more than one family arrives at the childcare facility at the same time.
- Ensure hand hygiene stations are set up for children before they enter the facility.
- Provide disinfecting wipes for pens used for sign-in stations.
- Consider having staff sign the children in to limit the number of individuals handling documents.
- Post signs to remind staff and children to perform hand hygiene (sneeze/cough into their elbow, put used tissues in a waste bin, and wash hands immediately after using tissues).
- Remind parents through visible signage (posters) at the childcare facility and when children are first registered for the program not to enter if they are sick (even if symptoms resemble a mild cold).
Developing Routines to Limit Contact
- Limit the number of families at the childcare entrance: one at a time.
- Advise parents to restrict the number of people coming to collect the child and to avoid going back and forth during the day.
- Consider staggering arrival and drop-off times and plan to limit direct contact with parents as much as possible.
- Allow more time when arriving, as additional health and safety procedures upon arrival will take a little longer.
- If your facility typically sees numerous drop-offs/pick-ups within a short window of time, provide small groups of parents with a time range that they can drop-off or pick-up. I.E., Group A 8:00 - 8:15; Group B, 8:15 - 8:30
- If you are able, place physical distancing floor signs at the parent pick-up/drop-off location (similar to grocery stores).
- If you are not able to have permanent signage, consider using safety cones, sidewalk chalk, or other similar markers to make it clear to all individuals wanting to access the facility.
- Consider making a short video or a social story to provide to families to review with their children prior to starting childcare or following an extended absence. This can detail the arrival and departure process in a child-friendly way.
- If parents must access the childcare facility, designate a limited “parent accessible” part of your facility, and ensure only one parent at a time accesses the space.
- For parent tours, consider creating an online video, holding tours and observations via Zoom, or conducting parent tours one at a time, when the facility is not in operation and observing physical distancing protocols.
- Ensure your facility has adequate amounts of hand sanitizer and soap and water. Pumps to soap and sanitizer bottles can easily break - have a couple of spare bottles on hand so that a continuous supply is available.
- If your facility does not have a sink near the entrance, set up a hand sanitizer station at the entrance.
While this requires a lot of upfront planning, you will ensure health and safety for students, staff, and families with a predictable routine, integrated policies, and safety regulations.