Reopening a School During a Pandemic — Paper Forms, Google Forms… Screening App?
Updated: Nov 6
As schools begin to reopen this Fall, they are facing many organizational and technical challenges to reopen their doors and all the while keep their school communities safe.
School nurses have been drafted to the frontline — tasked with monitoring the health of their community and ensuring that those who are ill stay home and get appropriate help.
Business as usual health protocols do not work. A student entering campus with symptoms and then going to the nurse’s office is a recipe for further shutdowns.
Remote health screening is now a necessity — the question is, how does one screen thousands of students and staff on a weekly or daily basis?
After a week of daily health screenings, a school could expect to accumulate upwards of 5,000 paper forms. That is more than any nurse’s file cabinet could ever fit!
The return of the paper form
The year is 2020 — and frighteningly, many schools still resort to paper forms.
Many schools use paper forms as a starting-point only to realize that screening processes organized in this way quickly break down.
“How am I going to conduct remote surveying?”
Using paper forms defeats the purpose, they are already on campus by the time they fill it out!
Conventional digital surveying tools help…or do they?
Digital surveying tools like Google Forms are useful tools for quickly creating and sharing simple surveys. Unfortunately, they were not designed with daily school health screenings in mind. It requires significant coding knowledge to enhance a Google Form to be fit-for-purpose.
“How can I quickly see who hasn’t answered the Google Form?”
“How can I send reminders to people who haven’t answered their morning screening?”
Accommodating a School Setting
In most schools, and certainly middle schools and elementary schools, it is parents who answer forms for their children.
This already creates difficulties for conventional survey tools — how do you accurately match parents to children? How do you know that the person responding is actually the child’s guardian? What happens if a family has multiple children or one of the parents is a teacher at the school?
All these scenarios make traditional digital forms long, complicated or unreliable. A dedicated screening app can accommodate all of these scenarios in a user-friendly way.
Encouraging Parents to Answer Forms
Filling out a form daily can be a taxing task for parents who are rushing to get their kids to school before work. Links to forms sent via email can easily get lost in a parent’s inbox and many parents will simply forget to answer.
A screening app alleviates these pain-points by providing automatic reminders to parents and a convenient way to fill out the form for all the children in the morning rush.
Within the app parents can seamlessly answer forms for all their children and get precise guidance from their school on what to do. In the same vain, it is the school nurse’s worst nightmare to have to manually send forms every day to their community — a screening app can take care of this by sending forms on a pre-set schedule.
Implementing an Effective Protocol at Entry
When a child does show up at school how can you check whether they are eligible to attend class on that day? With a screening app you can easily check which students have not been answered for and who is meant to stay home. You can also filter the responses by grade, class or cohort. In the case of high school students, the student can show their phone with a green “pass” or red “flagged” screen. This can also be implemented with parents showing their completed app from their car.
There are a multitude of ways in which a screening app can be implemented so that the process is effective and user-friendly both for the parents and the school administrators.
With Google Forms, identifying which students have not been reported for can be challenging while sifting through data to find a particular student is likely to be too time-consuming in the morning rush.
Ultimately, with a screening app school nurses can devote their time to caring for their community rather than managing a complex reporting system. At the same time, IT directors can help with remote learning rather than spending hours troubleshooting solutions which are not fit-for-purpose.
MyMedBot, used by over 50,000 parents, students and staff daily offers a hassle-free alternative. Get in touch with our team to learn more!