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Getting back to school: Education resources and FAQs

Check this page for the latest information on COVID-19, including frequently asked questions and downloadable resources to help reopen your school — safely.

As students, faculty and staff return to their classes and dorm rooms, we want to make sure you have the resources you need to safely reopen your facilities. This includes information on how to keep your students and staff healthy and safe once school is back in session.

Here you’ll find frequently asked questions (FAQs) and additional resources you can reference any time. Bookmark this page and check back for the latest updates.

To help keep students and staff safe and healthy, it’s best to focus on 4 main areas:

  • Masking
  • Social distancing
  • Handwashing
  • Personal responsibility


Click the below links for additional resources, FAQs and information:

Downloadable resources

Read our FAQs

Additional resources

Masking

With the spread of COVID-19, you may have some questions about masks. Here’s what you need to know

Why wear a mask:

To protect others:

Any mask will act as a barrier to particles that come out of your nose and mouth. You can carry COVID-19 without showing any symptoms, so it’s important to wear a mask to protect everyone around you.

To protect yourself:

Masks also help to filter the air you breathe in. If someone near you sneezes or coughs, a mask will keep you from inhaling as many of their respiratory particles, including viruses, which decreases your chance of getting sick.

Where you should wear a mask:

Any public area, including:

  • Class
  • Libraries
  • Gyms or fitness centers
  • Common areas
  • Campus/transportation
  • Facilities around campus
  • Cafeterias

Remember: Never lay your mask down on a counter, desktop or other surface that could transmit infection.

For more information on masks, visit the CDC's Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19.

Social distancing

Social distancing, also known as physical distancing, is one of the most effective ways to keep yourself and others safe from being exposed to the coronavirus, therefore reducing the spread.

Social distancing means maintaining a physical distance of at least 6 feet from other people.

Here are some tips to prepare for a safe return to campus:

Tips for a safe adjustment back to campus:

  • Follow floor markings, signs and tape set up to promote social distancing.
  • If possible, choose to use the stairs over the elevator. When the elevator is being used, limit it to 2 people in at a time.
  • Avoid sharing equipment and tools, such as phones, laptops, writing utensils and other items.
  • Tips to stay engaged and safe:
  • Encourage and establish alternatives to handshakes (think waving, placing a hand over your heart or making a peace sign).
  • Use telephone, video conferencing, email and text messaging to communicate in place of study sessions or group meetings.
    • If unavoidable, keep in-person meetings brief and held in a place where everyone can stay 6 feet apart.
  • Video call with friends to stay safe and social during breaks between classes.
  • Avoid gathering in common areas, such as the library, outside of classes and in food halls.
Handwashing

According to the CDC, COVID-19 can live on surfaces for hours or even days. Wash your hands often to protect yourself from the virus.

Here are some tips to help you wash your hands properly and protect yourself from getting sick:

  • Wash your hands, including the backs of your hands and between your fingers, often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in public areas.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially if you haven’t recently washed your hands.
Personal responsibility

We’re all in this together. To slow the spread of COVID-19, everyone has to help.

Here are some key points to help you do your part:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often and vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wear a mask in public. The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected, but it also helps protect you.
  • Keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others, even when masked.
  • People without symptoms can still spread the virus — in fact, you could give COVID-19 to others, even if you don’t feel sick.

Geisinger COVID-19 hotline

570-284-3657

Call our 24/7 hotline for answers about care recommendations and more.

Visit Geisinger’s Coronavirus Resource Center for the latest information and helpful resources.

Get virtual care now
Fill out the form below and a member of our Health and Wellness team will be in touch:

Downloadable resources

The below resources are available to download and share on your social media channels or print to hang in your buildings. You can also visit our coronavirus blog for the latest in COVID-19 health and wellness.

For elementary school students:

Athletics/Student Health Toolkit

Información en español:

FAQs

How can I protect myself, colleagues, students and their families from COVID-19 and help prevent the spread?

Like the flu, the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is through common-sense prevention measures:

  • Practice social distancing. Don’t shake hands, avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after coughing, sneezing and visiting public areas. Alcohol-based sanitizers and wipes with at least 60% alcohol are also good options for hand hygiene.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, nose and eyes.
  • Keep surfaces clean and disinfected at your home, workplace and school.
  • Wear a mask when you’re in public, which helps protect others.

If you aren’t feeling well, the only time you should leave your home is to seek medical care. The best thing you can do if you’re sick — with a bad cold, the flu or COVID-19 — is staying home and self-isolating.

Flier: Hygiene to stay healthy

Since the opening of many businesses — including schools, colleges and universities — depends on employees needing daycare services, do you have recommendations for daycare facilities, such as screenings, masks, class sizes and child drop-off procedures?

Visit these helpful links regarding childcare and taking care of children:

What is the best way to interact with students and their families when reopening?

We recommend following CDC guidelines on masking and social distancing. This includes:

  • Requiring everyone to mask before entering a building or campus.
  • Limiting the number of people in a building or campus.
  • Ask COVID-19 symptom screen questions of anyone who enters a building or campus.
  • Having markers of 6 feet on the floors to maintain social distancing.
  • Having directional traffic flows.

If you have infrared (no-touch) thermometers available, you can add temperature checks to your screening process.

Avoid group gatherings and keep lines moving at any screening stations to avoid a back-up while people wait to get screened. If you have many employees and students, they can pre-screen themselves at home and confirm with a representative at your school that they’re symptom-free before coming to class.

Flier: Virtual meeting tips and tricks

What are the guidelines for cleaning the school?

What if I don’t have access to cleaning products?

When EPA-approved disinfectants aren’t available, you can use alternative disinfectants. For example, you can mix ⅓ cup of bleach (or 70% alcohol) to 1 gallon of water.

Don’t mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together. This can cause fumes that are very dangerous

What are your recommendations for when an employee at school claims they can't wear a mask due a to medical condition, such as asthma?

Generally, employers should be providing training to employees when face coverings are distributed or required. Also, the training process should include identification of any medical issues that could interfere with wearing face coverings, such as claustrophobia, asthma, COPD or other conditions. Employers are advised to engage in the interactive process with such employees as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar state and local provisions.
Where can I find the current models of how many cases are in my area and when the peak will be?

Here are some helpful resources for looking at models for COVID-19 in your area:

If we provide students with welcome kits, what health related items could be included?

Many schools provide “welcome back” kits to returning students.  Adding things like:

  • Cloth mask (could have school logo)
  • Personal digital thermometer
  • Clip on hand sanitizer (to clip to bags/backpacks)
  • Symptom reminder magnet, card or cling that they can put on their wall
  • Stylist pen to help avoid contact
  • Additional educational information as needed about new policies or things that may have changed since the last time they were on campus
  • Important campus phone numbers or websites/apps for student health, etc.

may be useful in helping combat COVID-19