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5 Must-Dos for School Cafeterias and Bookstores to Safely Re-open

By Mina Lee

COVID-19 is creating a new lifestyle for everyone, and for people who have kids in K-12 the impact is more pronounced. Schools suddenly closed in March and quickly pivoted to remote learning by April. By May, schools were arranging virtual proms and graduations; and as we headed into summer vacation no one knew what the guidelines were for re-opening. All this happened while we watched confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths reach new highs every day.

My 15-year old daughter is starting 10th grade this fall. Her school district is offering options of 100% online or 50/50 campus format, which gives students in-person learning 2 ½ days a week.  She’s excited about the latter option because it allows her the social experience of attending school. But, as a parent I am concerned about how my daughter, her classmates, teachers and school staff can safely be around each other during these 2 ½ days each week.

Although the district did provide a detailed plan addressing COVID-19 and student safety – how classroom desks and items are sanitized, if HEPA air filters will be available, their sick policy, social distancing rules, mask requirements and more – it did not include cafeteria or bookstore protocol.

As a point of sale (POS) specialist who understands transaction technology as an important part of school operations, this troubled me. Like retail restaurants or stores, all the necessary COVID-19 proofing procedures will need to take place on campus in places like the cafeteria, bookstore and even the library.

Below are the five necessary steps for school districts and principles to consider implementing now for these areas, especially while many schools have not yet opened:

1. Temperature Check Logging and Entrance Identification – some schools have protocols to check temperatures at the campus gate as each school day begins. However, it is not unusual for students, teachers and school staff to develop a high temperature during the day, so repeat checking and logging is important.

The most ideal case is to provide a label sticker with time logs and identification after each temperature check as individuals are allowed access into cafeterias. Toshiba’s linerless label printer solution B-FV4D can be paired with any temperature checking software and thermometers to provide a unique label for each entry.

2. Contactless Ordering Solutions – an article published by EdTech magazine (New Global Survey Offers Snapshot of Technology in the Classroom in 2019) says 74% of US K-12 students have access to smart phones. With such a high percentage, mobile ordering from school cafeterias would help limit the chance of students and staff getting the virus from physical interactions.

3. Sneeze Shield – built to help reduce the spread of contagious, airborne germs commonly spread by coughing and sneezing. It can help to protect school staff, students and teachers in close proximity at each cash register.

4. Safe-to-Clean POS Devices – our previous blog “COVID-19 WILL CHANGE YOUR POS OPERATIONS PERMANENTLY. HERE’S HOW TO MANAGE” talks about the importance of cleaning POS devices since they are one of the most common touch points during a transaction. The same risks can be applied to school cafeterias, bookstores and libraries. Toshiba’s POS printers (HSP Series) are IP21 certified to protect internal receipt printer mechanisms from excess chemical sprays during cleaning.

5. Signs and Reminders – having appropriate alert signs that provide direction, and check lists for sanitary inventories as needed, and are necessary for any organization Toshiba offers an extensive series of Multi-Function Printers which can print on demand, in vivid color various size signs and check lists to deliver any campus messaging.

Despite the concerns around returning to schools, there are many safety measures that can be taken. Toshiba can help ensure your child’s school is prepared to keep students and staff safe.

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