CS 321881-A 12/29/2020
Teachers and Staff Resuming In-Person Learning
As a teacher or school staff member, you play a vital role in creating supportive and healthy environments in which students can learn and
thrive. As your school resumes in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic – whether for the first time or following an outbreak –
this page can help you identify ways to protect your own health, as well as the health of students in your classroom.
1. Prepare yourself and your family for in-person learning
Know your risk:
Are you or is someone you live with at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19? Risk increases with age and for
people with certain underlying medical conditions. More detailed information about the conditions linked to increased risk is available
on CDC’s website.
Do you know how to protect yourself? Make a plan for how you can protect yourself and others while at school, such as:
Covering your mouth and nose with a mask; and
Practicing proper hand washing techniques at home and at school, especially before and after eating, sneezing, coughing, adjusting a mask, touching shared
objects, and both before and after restroom use; and
Minimizing close contact with people outside your household and anyone in your household who has or may have COVID-19.
Do you have health concerns about resuming in-person instruction? If so, consult with your health care provider(s) and
speak with your school administrators about any options outside of in-person learning you may have (e.g., virtual teaching, extended
sick/leave policies, etc.).
Know what to look for:
Are you familiar with the symptoms of COVID-19? If you or someone you live with experiences any of these symptoms that
indicate possible illness, you should not go to school. Stay home and monitor your symptoms. You can use CDC’s COVID-19 self-
checker to help make a decision about whether to seek testing or medical care.
Do you know what it means to have close contact or a potential exposure to someone with COVID-19? A close contact
is someone you were within 6 feet of for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period who has tested positive for
COVID-19, regardless of whether either of you were wearing a mask.*
*Although the mask helps prevent a close contact from spreading the virus to you by keeping respiratory
droplets contained, it does not guarantee protection.
If you have had a close contact, you should contact your school administration and follow your school’s procedures
for what to do if you may have been exposed. CDC recommends that those who have had close contact with someone who has
COVID-19 stay home for 14 days after your last contact with that person, stay away from others, and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
Do you know about COVID-19 testing and where you can go to get tested for COVID-19 in the event that you or someone in
your household develops symptoms? Check with your healthcare provider or local public health department to see if there are any
sites that offer free testing or sites that prioritize testing for teachers and staff. 
Know when you are feeling overwhelmed and whom to reach out to for help. Be familiar with CDC’s Stress and Coping During
the COVID-19 Pandemic webpage. Identify whom to reach out to (e.g., school administrators or employee assistance programs [EAP])
within your district for additional support if you are feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed.
2. Prepare your students and classroom for in-person learning
Adapt classroom strategies to promote behaviors to reduce spread:
Are you and your students required to wear masks at school? CDC recommends that students, teachers, and staff
wear a mask with two or more layers to help protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Check your schools policy for
using masks, and know when to wear a mask at school. If masks are encouraged or required, consider the following:
Identify who is responsible for supplying cloth masks– families, teachers, or the school;
Collaborate with school and district leadership to plan for how to respond to students who do not have a mask or choose not to wear one;
Plan for how to encourage students to wear masks correctly; and
Whether you should wear a clear mask to support students who are deaf, hard of hearing, learning to read, learning to speak English, or those with other special
Masks should not be placed on children younger than 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, or anyone unable to remove the mask
without assistance. Appropriate and consistent use may be challenging for younger students, individuals with severe asthma or breathing difficulties, or those
with special educational or healthcare needs.
Are there ways you can promote social distancing during classroom instruction or during classroom transitions?
Consider specific teaching methods, activities, and procedures that allow students to remain at least 6 feet apart, while still engaging
and interacting with one another.
Do you have the supplies you need to support hand hygiene and sneeze and cough etiquette? You and your students
should be able to practice frequent hand washing and respiratory etiquette (e.g., covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue) when
resuming in-person learning. Consider the following:
Identify who is responsible for supplying classroom supplies (e.g., soap, paper towels, facial tissues, touch-less trash cans, hand sanitizer, etc.);
Plan for how to restock supplies when they are running low, including who will you need to contact;
Plan to support hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette through instructional materials (e.g., lessons, printed posters, videos); and
Identify key times to promote hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette among students in your classroom, and ensure students have access to necessary supplies
during these times.
Adapt classroom procedures to maintain healthy environments and operations:
Are you able to modify your classroom layout to space students at least 6 feet apart? Discuss options with your school
administrators – they may already have a plan in place. Arrange desks so that they are at least six feet apart and facing the same
direction. If classroom space is limited, consider the following:
Remove extra furniture to allow for more desk spacing;
If students typically sit at tables in groups, space tables at least 6 feet apart and keep students in the same group throughout the school year;
Add floor tape, signs, or other visual cues to keep students distanced while in the classroom;
Optimize educational technology to provide resources to students and for the submission and grading of student work to limit the transfer of papers and other
materials among you and your students; and
Explore options for holding class outdoors or in larger unused spaces (e.g., auditoriums, libraries, convention centers, other available safe spaces in the community).
Can you reduce the use of communal/shared objects? Identify frequently touched or shared objects in the classroom (e.g.,
books, technology, supplies) and consider ways to limit their use, or increase cleaning and disinfecting between each use.
Can you increase circulation of outdoor air? When weather and air quality conditions allow, check with school administrators
about increasing fresh outdoor air by opening windows and doors. Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health
risk for students (e.g., risk of falling, triggering asthma symptoms).
Do you know who is responsible for cleaning and disinfecting your classroom? Determine when and what spaces, surfaces,
and objects will be cleaned and disinfected in the school, and whether any additional training will be provided to staff who are
responsible for cleaning and disinfection.
Have you asked administrators about any new procedures to maintain healthy environments and operations in
communal spaces (e.g., restrooms, cafeterias, playgrounds) in your school? Ensure that there are policies and practices that
promote social distancing of at least 6 feet during student drop-off/arrival, classroom and hallway transitions, and in common spaces.
Visual cues such as floor tape, signs, or physical barriers may support students and staff in practicing key everyday preventive behaviors.
Plan for if a student gets sick:
Do you know what to do if a student in your classroom has COVID-19 symptoms? Identify who you should contact at your
school, and check whether there are any school policies related to this scenario (e.g., a place for the student to isolate from others,
classroom shifts to temporary online instruction).
Do you know your schools protocols if a student in your classroom has a positive COVID-19 test result? Know who at
your school is responsible for contacting the local health department and understand your role in potential contact tracing and case
investigation. Consider the following to support their efforts:
Collaborate with school administrators to create a daily classroom map or seating chart so that you can readily identify who was within 6 feet of the student for
more than 15 cumulative minutes within a 24-hour period; and
Know your schools protocols for contacting parents, caregivers, and guardians of other students in your class following the positive COVID-19 test result
If you and students have to quarantine, are you expected to continue instruction online? Check with your school about
policies for temporarily resuming remote learning following a COVID-19 case in your classroom, and whether extra planning time or
technical support will be available.