CDC School Guidelines Applied to Classroom Electronic Devices

June 19, 2020

By Christine Nelson

For schools that haven’t already moved to the 1:1 model — one device for every student — this is the gold standard all are moving toward now. The pandemic has caused us to rethink our K-12 classroom process for everything, including classroom sets of electronic devices. Applying CDC School Guidelines to deployment models and charging solutions helps ensure your classrooms are the lowest risk when students return to classrooms.

Safest Deployment Models using CDC School Guidelines for Reopening 

When students stay in the same classroom with the same teacher for all or most of the day, it’s simple to coordinate students using the same devices every day.  This model is most frequently used in a PreK-5th grade environment, and aligns closest with these CDC School Guidelines for reopening:

  • Restrict or limit mixing between glasses/groups 
  • Avoid sharing electronic devices, toys, books, other games, and learning aids

Charging carts and other charging stations don’t always make it easy for young students to know which device belongs to them every day.  Teachers often take on the responsibility of passing out and retrieving these devices, often several times per day. This increases the teacher’s risk by having to touch all the students’ devices. Not to mention, teachers waste a lot of teaching time in this process. 

Safety Comes First with PowerGistics Towers

PowerGistics Towers were designed with young students in mind. The colorful shelf groups and numbered individual shelves make it easy for students to remember their designated shelf and device, such as Red 1 or Yellow 4, for example. Asking students to retrieve by their color group rather than all at once also helps students maintain the CDC School Guidelines recommended 6 feet of physical distance.  If the classrooms are larger, placing two Towers on opposite sides of the classroom further creates this natural physical distance, and speeds up deployment times. 

The cable management is exceptionally secure and completely intuitive, allowing even young students to correctly plug their device back in to charge. No training required, cable management is student-proof, preventing cords from going missing, fraying, or other damage. 

This 100% student management feature of PowerGistics Towers naturally helps prevent the spread of germs, since the student only needs to touch their device and power cord during retrieval and return. Additionally, this student managed approach means the teacher only needs to touch the key or lock to unlock and lock the Tower throughout the day – decreasing their risk and saving them time. 

But what about older grades that move from class to class?

Safe Homeroom Device Deployment Model

Many grades move from class to class, often middle and high school students.  For this level, the safest electronic device deployment option to align with CDC School Guidelines has students using the same device throughout the day. This system closely resembles that from the younger grade levels.

Even before the pandemic, many schools wanted students to have an assigned device for logistical and accountability reasons.  They wanted to still require the devices to remain at school to charge overnight.  The Homeroom model accomplishes all these needs. 

This model works best if the district is 1:1.  During their first period homeroom, students retrieve their device that was fully charged overnight. After using this same device throughout the day, they return it to the dedicated charging shelf in their homeroom before they head home. Again, the teacher only needs to lock and unlock the Tower at the beginning and end of the day. This model provides all the same 100% student-managed benefits with the other deployment model and helps prevent the spread of germs through classroom devices. 

Making Shared Electronic Devices Safer

This last deployment model is the riskiest. For schools that haven’t made the shift to 1:1 yet, students in classrooms share a set of devices.  With many charging cart systems, students retrieve and return the devices on a first-come, first-served model.  When thinking about preventing the spread of germs, this is the most risky, and requires the most demanding cleaning schedule to prevent.  When sharing devices is unavoidable, the CDC School Guidelines recommends to “limit the use of supplies and equipment by one group of students at a time.”

PowerGistics Towers can help with this too.  When students have a designated shelf for their device in each classroom, the number of students that use the same device each day and week is limited.  Rather than numerous students possibly using the same device, the same 5 students, for example, use it every day.  If a person becomes ill, it’s much easier to identify which device they used, too. 

The CDC School Guidelines also recommend to “clean, sanitize, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces… and shared objects between use.” PowerGistics offers a cleaning caddy that hooks to the side of the Tower, offering a dedicated and convenient way for students or teachers to sanitize the devices between uses. 

CDC School Guidelines Suggest Preparation for Closures

CDC School Guidelines do recommend having e-learning/distance learning plans in place for higher risk students and in case of a future pandemic related school closures.

If the classroom devices are tablets or Chromebooks with a USB-C charging port, PowerGistics can make school closures a breeze.  It’s time-consuming to rip out the power bricks from your classroom charging station to send home with students.  Spending thousands of dollars on a second set of charging cords is frustrating, too. PowerGistics’ USB Tower Series includes a set of USB-C cables, letting schools save the power bricks to send home with students.  

As an additional safety feature, all PowerGistics Towers are now available with an optional silver-ion Antimicrobial Powder Coat.  This coating helps kill or slow the growth of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, mold, and mildew. Whether trying to prevent COVID-19, influenza, or the common cold, keeping students and teachers healthy is a top priority with PowerGistics. 

Interested in more information about PowerGistics? Contact our friendly team today for more information.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html