Schools in affected parts of the United States have closed schools to allow for staff to sanitize surfaces and mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus – this is also a common practice when large populations of students have been ill with influenza and other highly contagious illnesses.
The CDC has recommended that schools update their emergency plans and prepare for COVID-19 related closures. (In addition to stepping up surface cleaning regimes, teaching and enforcing proper hand washing and hygiene, and encouraging staff and students to stay home when ill)
Here are some items to consider from the Team at ITS:
Google Hangouts Meet
In efforts to provide a solid online learning experience for any schools that offer home-bound instruction as a response to COVID-19, Google has announced that all G Suite for Education domains can utilize the premium Google Hangouts Meet feature at no additional cost. This will be open to Education domains until July 1, 2020.
As this rolls out to your domain, Google Hangouts Meet will be turned OFF by default. ITS can help you activate Google Hangouts Meet for specific groups of staff/students or your entire domain. If you plan to add Google Hangouts Meet to your COVID-19 emergency plan, consider offering some test runs so staff are familiar with the product. Read the Google announcement here.
Physically Cleaning Machines
Some schools using shared devices have asked about cleaning keyboards and computers between uses. ITS recommends these procedures to minimize spread of germs when sharing technology devices.
- Scrub in, scrub out. Before using shared machines, wash your hands. After using shared machines, wash again.
- Turn laptops, iPads and Chromebooks off before cleaning. Disconnect items from power before cleaning.
- If using a disposable disinfecting wipe, make sure any excess fluid has been squeezed from the wipe.
- If using a reusable cloth with a spray, move away from the machine to spray the cloth lightly.
- Apple has previously recommended Lysol Wipes and Clorox Kitchen Disinfecting wipes. Apple does not recommend bleach.
- Make sure to also clean mice, chairs, Apple pencils/Logitech crayons, printer keypads, remote controls, classroom phones, and other tech items in labs and classrooms.
- Do not allow any access liquid to pool – use a dry cloth to absorb any extra liquid on the device.
Make sure that necessary staff have offsite access to HVAC systems, file servers, security systems, and other remote tools. Test these connections and protocols while you are still healthy!
Encourage staff to transfer local files to cloud storage (like Google Drive), in case they need to access files from a personal device instead of a school-asset. Make sure that any staff that currently assigned to a desktop machine have access to a laptop, Chromebook, etc. if you need them to work from home.
ITS Team Members
If you have a spring break in the coming weeks, use it wisely! Rest, recover and write some lessons plans into the future. ITS does encourage employees to stay home when they are sick, and will work to switch days or technicians to make sure we are sending healthy staff onsite to your schools.
Please reach out to our helpdesk if you have any questions!