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Promote behaviors that reduce spread of COVID-19

Schools may consider implementing several strategies to encourage behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Staying home when appropriate

Educate staff and families about when they/their child(ren) should stay home and when they can return to school.


Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette

  • Teach and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and increase monitoring to ensure adherence among students and staff.

  • Encourage staff and students to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  • If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol should be used (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer).


  • Teach and reinforce use of masks. The use of masks is one of many important mitigation strategies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Masks are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms. Masks are not Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (e.g., surgical masks, respirators).

  • Appropriate and consistent use of masks is most important when students, teachers, and staff are indoors and when social distancing is difficult to implement or maintain. Individuals should be frequently reminded not to touch the face covering or mask and to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. Information should be provided to staff, students, and students’ families on proper use, removal, and washing of masks.

  • Masks should not be placed on:

    • Children younger than 2 years old

    • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious

    • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance

  • Appropriate and consistent use of masks may be challenging for some students, teachers, and staff, including:

    • Younger students, such as those in early elementary school (Pre-K through 3rd grade).

    • Students, teachers, and staff with severe asthma or other breathing difficulties.

    • Students, teachers, and staff with special educational or healthcare needs, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, and sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity.

Maintaining healthy environments

School administrators may consider implementing several strategies to maintain healthy environments.

Cleaning and disinfection

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g., playground equipment, door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains) within the school and on school buses at least daily or between use as much as possible. Use of shared objects (e.g., gym or physical education equipment, art supplies, toys, games) should be limited when possible, or cleaned between use.

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