Children standing in line to have their symptoms checked at school COVID-19 online heath screening

Why Online Health Screening Needs to Be a Part of Your District’s Reopening Plan

Have you ever considered how much physical contact happens on the first day of an average school year?

Teachers high-five students as they enter the building. Students hug friends they missed during summer break. An administrator holds the hand of a lost Kindergartener. The building is packed and chaotic. The whole school may attend an assembly in the cafeteria with everyone squeezed into a single room, like a cafeteria or gym.

The upcoming school year will be completely different. Everyone will be required to wear a mask. Teachers will rearrange classrooms so that students are six feet apart. There will likely be a combination of in-class and online learning. Arrival and dismissal times will be staggered.

And that’s not all.

Many districts will be required to incorporate daily health screenings of students, staff, and visitors on school campuses to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. On-site health screenings—in addition to other recommended measures—will help keep exposure limited.  

If health screenings are required, then one question remains: How can your school perform staff and student screenings with efficiency to create a safe and healthy learning environment? 

In this post, we’ll explain how a mobile health screening solution helps schools and districts to:

  • Quickly and easily monitor for symptoms of COVID-19
  • Create a record of data to share with government agencies
  • Make data-driven decisions for reopening schools
  • Provide proof to key stakeholders and parents 
  • Save money on paper and reduce paper usage

If your school will be required to check students and staff for symptoms, online health screening makes the process breeze. Here’s why you need to add online health screening to your school reopening plan.

Online Health Screening Tools are the Easiest Way to Monitor COVID-19 Symptoms

Mobile health screening solutions make it possible for authorized staff members to conduct quick symptom checks as other staff members and students enter a school building. 

Fast and Easy Student Health Screening

We built Rapid Health Screener to make the wellness checks process as painless as possible. The solution includes a pre-populated form with the entries from the previous day. If nothing has changed, you can submit it as is; this makes the health screening process far more efficient for everyone involved.

Health screenings aren’t limited to the beginning of the day. Consider all of the transitions your students experience throughout the day. Here are some other instances you may need to incorporate health screenings:

  • Upon entering homeroom
  • Before and after field trips
  • At the beginning of clubs
  • After recess
  • Before and after any athletic practice or game

The Rapid Health Screener from LINQ Registration makes it possible to report on multiple data points for more accurate and well-rounded results. With Rapid Health Screener, you can capture whether someone is experiencing the following:

  • Cough
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle Aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • New loss of smell or taste

The more information you capture, the faster you can catch the beginning stages of COVID-19 in your students and staff. Tracking body temperature alone is not enough.

Digital Records for Reporting

The school receives a time-stamped, digital record for every student and staff member for every notation. These records are stored securely in the cloud. 

Digital health screening records help you meet federal, state, and local requirements. Consider the agencies and organizations that may require reporting:

  • Contact Tracers
  • Your Local Health Board
  • Your state’s Department of Health
  • Insurance Providers
  • Pediatricians
  • Attorneys 

Also, these records can be analyzed by school administrators to help inform critical decisions, like a transition to a new reopening phase, to reverse your opening decisions, or to declare an outbreak in your school. 

Instant Notifications on COVID-19 Symptoms

If your concern is symptoms falling through the cracks, Rapid Health Screener sends instant email alerts when a form includes COVID-19 symptoms. Instant alerts help you to protect others in the school building but also allow you to communicate exposure with parents as quickly as possible.

Why Paper Forms Won’t Work for Onsite Health Screenings

Current recommendations state that school health screenings happen at least once a day, each school day. So, just imagine the amount of paper that would accumulate over the course of a school year! Where do you store it and guarantee that the data is secure?

Just for fun, let’s do a little math lesson*. 

My child’s K-4th elementary school has four classrooms per grade. That’s 20 homeroom classrooms total. Now, let’s assume the school plans to adhere to the CDC recommendation of 12 children in a classroom. 

If the school uses one paper form upon entry, it will accumulate 240 pieces of paper per day for students alone. Now, let’s figure out how much that would be over the course of a school year.  

The average school year is approximately 36 weeks or 180 days. That means a school will use (and have to store) approximately 43,200** additional sheets of paper per year. As I mentioned, this number doesn’t include staff members or visitors.

Paper forms are not a scalable solution for school health screenings because they are:

  • Expensive to create and print
  • Time-consuming to file and use your already limited resources
  • Bulky and take up a lot of space that you may not have
  • Susceptible to the elements and human error
  • Hard to keep secure
  • Not environmentally sustainable

The answer is plain: paper forms will not work for school health screenings. Instead, an online health screening tool is the answer to all of the problems that paper forms pose. 

Rapid Health Screener helps you save on resources and time since there’s no filing required. You save space in your building while ensuring the forms are secure in the cloud.

Now is the Time to Protect Your School

August will be here faster than you think – there’s no time for hesitation where your schools’ health and safety are concerned. District leaders have to shift their thinking quickly using health screening tools to increase regulatory compliance and keep their schools safe.

As you work through your school reopening plan, you’ll likely have some big decisions to make. The current challenges are stressful – no one has faced this adversity in our lifetime. The best you can do is consider tools that will help your school run effectively and empower your staff while keeping everyone healthy. 

Rapid Health Screener has a superfast implementation time, and our K-12 experts perform a complete training with your team – all within two weeks. The time is now. Start building your symptom database now and avoid compliance issues later.  

* I’m not great at math.
** Seriously, these numbers are extreme approximations. Please do your own estimates.

Woman sitting at desk looking at computer screen holding eye glasses in hand k-12 school website accessibility ADA

Is ADA Compliance an Issue for Your K-12 School Website?

Accessibility has long been a concern for K-12 schools.

Educational organizations have always had to consider how to provide equal access to all students, ranging from private testing for those who need it to having school transportation that accommodates wheelchairs. 

School website accessibility and ADA compliance is sometimes forgotten about by educational organizations, but it’s just as essential as physical access. In fact, it’s more important than ever before. As schools move enrollment and learning beyond the walls of the school, your website should be accessible to anyone who needs it.

Many schools work hard to implement the required guidelines for their online presence, but web accessibility is complex. There are extensive requirements involved that often results in certain specifications getting overlooked. When this happens, it limits access to some students, staff, or teachers, and potentially opening you up to ADA lawsuits.

ADA compliance may be an issue for your school site without you even realizing it. In this post, we take a look at what you need to know about ADA compliance and online accessibility, and how to assess what steps you need to take moving forward. 

How Does the ADA Impact K-12 School Websites? 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that organizations provide equal access to everyone, regardless of disabilities.

ADA compliance includes school websites, which are an increasingly valuable resource for students, parents, and teachers. School sites are now more important than ever, with more schools adjusting to online learning in the face of COVID-19.

If a student is unable to watch instructional videos because there aren’t closed captions and they’re hard of hearing, for example, they’re at an extreme disadvantage.

This would also be the case for students with limited sight who can’t utilize infographic resources without alternative image text, or those who can only use a keyboard on a site that requires a mouse to navigate. 

All schools must maintain full ADA compliance online. That includes:

This may require an overhaul on existing sites in order to incorporate the ADA guidelines into the site’s core foundation. 

How to Determine if Accessibility is an Issue for Your School Website 

If your school site wasn’t created with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) in mind, there’s a good chance that there are at least portions of your content or site structure that needs updating. 

Review the WCAG guidelines, and conduct a full audit on your site. You can have your internal IT staff handle this, or consult an expert in the industry. 

Make sure there is full implementation of every guideline on every relevant piece of content. It’s not enough to have transcripts or closed captions for most videos; you must offer these for every video published on your site. 

Remember that the technical parts of accessibility like site structure and navigation options are just as important as more visible measures like closed captions in videos.

It’s also important to have your site fully ADA compliant even if there’s no one in your community that you know of who needs every single requirement. 

Common ADA Compliance Accessibility Issues Commonly Affecting School Websites 

When assessing your site for ADA compliance, you should abide by every requirement that ensures accessibility. 

These guidelines are extensive, but there are some ADA compliance violations that are more common. These are the accessibility issues that are most likely to impact users significantly:

  • Transcripts or closed captions must be available for all audio and video files.
  • All non-text content (including images, videos, and audio files) must have alternative text for screen readers.
  • Captions must accompany all live video streaming.
  • Your site structure must be easy to navigate with only a keyboard. 
  • Instructions cannot rely exclusively on sensory characteristics like shape, color, or sound. 
  • You must have a minimum color contrast ratio of 4.5:1, ensuring that your site is easy to distinguish.
  • Your site must have text that can increase in size up to 200%.
  • Headings and labels should be structural, not just decorative.
  • Content (including videos) can’t flash more than three times in one second, and users must have the ability to turn off flashing content. 

Make Your School Website Inclusive with ADA Compliance

Maintaining school website ADA compliance is no easy task. The guidelines can often be overwhelming, especially since you need to maintain these requirements across your entire online presence. 

If you’re unsure about your school site’s accessibility, do a full audit as soon as possible.

If, on the other hand, you know that your site is lacking in multiple accessibility issues, it may be best to start from scratch. Services like LINQ rebuild your site from scratch or offer ready-made, easy-to-customize school websites that come fully ADA compliant. 

You want every member of your community to take advantage of your site, so invest the time and energy to ensuring that this is possible.

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