Using the directions in the Leading a Successful Reentry Toolkit, assign work groups to topics and then ask them to respond to the set of questions aligned to their topic. Work groups can answer any other questions in other topics or additional questions they create to define and refine their respective topics.

Topics to Be Considered


  • Best Practices Framework for controlling exposure:

    • What is the description of “physical distancing” we will use, and does it include both “at home”and “at school” options to limit the number of employees/students in a space?
    • What will be the screening measures used at school sites (Example: temperature-taking if it is still recommended by CDC as an effective screening measure)?
    • What will daily cleaning/sanitation for each part of the campus look like and what additional training/equipment/resources will be needed?
  • Specific step by step social distancing

    • How will we enter the building?
    • How will we exit the building?
    • How will we mark “safe distance” on the floors, counters, tables and other surfaces?
    • How will we board buses?
    • How many students per class?
    • What about special area classes?
    • What about PE and recess?
    • Will there be alternative schedules?
      • How will this be determined?
      • Will it change? When?
    • What will be our plan to teach/implement/practice/regulate/enforce social distancing?
  • PPE materials/equipment (masks, gloves, sanitizer, wipes)

    • What and how will these be provided?
    • What is essential (Example: medical-grade masks for health professionals and non-medical-grade for all others, hand washing stations, equipment sanitizing stations)?
    • What is the responsibility of school nurse/nurse’s aide?
  • Healthy Practices

    • Maintenance/custodial staff responsible for deep cleaning at the end of each day?
    • Will all employees clean their areas (heavily used—desk areas, pencil sharpener, markers, whiteboards, copiers, staplers)?
    • How will we report a student with COVID or a student’s family member?
    • How often should employees and students wash hands?


  • What modifications need to be made to current emergency response plans and procedures(Examples: fire drill, tornado drill, active shooter drill)?

  • What would a new coronavirus emergency response look like?

    • Once new sanitation and screening processes such as daily temperature checks and pre-entry hand washing are in place, what triggers an “emergency”?
    • How will students/adults with symptoms be isolated from others?
    • How will custodians and administrators respond to symptomatic persons on campus?
    • How will symptomatic persons be safely removed from campus?
    • How will emergency sanitation processes be implemented to clean spaces utilized by symptomatic persons?
    • At what point will additional screenings of remaining persons on campus be implemented?
    • At what point and by what measure will a campus be closed and a return to distance learning be implemented?
  • What will be our communication protocol when responding to a symptomatic student/adult on campus (notifying parent/family of symptomatic person, notifying employees, notifying parents of all students, notifying health department, notifying other community agencies)?

  • What will our “standard” be, to be met to reopen after a closing (1-3 days closed for deep cleaning, tracking and tracing and sanitation of all places/materials/equipment that symptomatic person touched, tracking and tracing and notification of all interactions with students and adults that involved the symptomatic person)?

  • What will a new “reopening” of a campus following a closing due to confirmed coronavirus look like?

  • How will new emergency plans be communicated to all stakeholders?

  • How will employee training in responding to a coronavirus emergency be designed and implemented?


  • What do we know about current and future budget allocations and potential cuts?

  • What have we learned during our shutdown time about potential areas for cost-savings?

    • What can we stop doing that we have traditionally done?
    • What can we keep doing that we have learned works well and saves money?
    • What are our “unsolved issues” for which we need to determine potential solutions?
  • What will be our additional costs due to physical distancing and what could mediate those costs?

    • What does physical distancing look like in all settings (buses, bus stops, bus ramps, hallways, classrooms, restrooms, common areas-gyms, media centers, shops, labs, office areas, clinics, cafeterias, auditoriums, band/choir rooms)?
    • What does a “physically distanced day” look like in a school (temperature check at the door, hand-washing by all upon entry to schools, storage of student items in classrooms, physically distanced desks, handling of instructional materials and equipment, movement of students in and out of classrooms and common areas, timing of regular sanitation throughout the day, meals, recess, special areas, use of restrooms, collection of personal belongings at day’s end, movement to buses/cars)?
    • What measurements and cost calculations do we need to make to determine the actual costs of doing business in an appropriately physically distanced school?


  • What does a review of staffing allocations reveal (role changes, too many staff, too few staff)?

  • What changes in delivery of service will be required for particular roles (nurses, teaching assistants, custodians, food service employees)?

  • How will we conduct a review of all employee contracts to determine needed revisions?

    • Teachers (Examples: provision/requirement of PPE, accommodations for at-risk personnel, revision of instructional/grading practices required for return to school or blended model)
    • Non-instructional (Examples: provision/requirement of PPE, accommodations for at-risk personnel, revision of cleaning and sanitation protocols, training required for the job)
  • What do different “reopening” models require in terms of staff (in-school with smaller classes, continued online learning, blended instructional settings)?

  • What services can be delivered in a different setting (Example: use of videoconferencing for some interactions such as employee meetings, parent meetings, screenings and evaluations for special education inclusion practices, IEP meetings, and others)?

  • How does this change the role of health benefits, retirement benefits, leave time/type?

  • What needs to be considered as we work toward negotiating changes with employee unions?


  • How will we determine the number of students who will ride each bus to provide some distancing

  • How will students enter and exit the bus?

  • What communication procedure will be used if there is a sick or potentially sick student on the bus?

  • How will bus drivers communicate with school personnel about health issues with students?

  • What happens if a driver is ill with COVID?

  • What extra cleaning will occur on buses? When, where, who?

  • How will changes in schedules, routes, buses, and drivers be determined and communicated to parents and school staff?


  • How will we involve the community, parents, unions in the conversation to build the plan to reopen?

  • How will we set up communication networks to consistently connect with local government, local health agencies and other entities we cross paths with such as day care facilities?

  • How will we communicate information to all in a timely way?

  • How will we cascade information on a regular basis-who needs to know what and when?


  • How will we plan for and train all school personnel in the brain science around physical and psychological safety?
  • What screening measure(s) will we use to regularly check the social/emotional well-being of all students and employees? 
  • How will we “ramp up” what we know works and build a system of connecting and responding(Examples: trauma-informed schools, daily check-ins with students)?


  • What are our options for maximizing and optimizing instruction for students upon reentry and what are the potential successes and limitations of each
  • What are the requirements of providing equitable resources for all students in a blended or online model (access to broadband, proper devices to meet the needs of students and families)?
  • How can we implement what we have learned during the stay-at-home time to improve our instruction (Examples: some students thrived in the at-home environment since they could work at their own pace, were free from bullying, and felt connected to their teachers, while other students did not thrive due to lack of technology, lack of parental support, feelings of being disconnected from school)?
  • How can we individualize/differentiate instruction to determine what works best for each student?
  • How will we assess learning gains in each of the models we consider?
  • How will we diagnose “lack of progress” in students, including those with disabilities and how will we respond?
  • What interventions will be used in each instructional scenario considered to assist students not progressing?
  • How will we rethink student assessments for grading and movement to the next grade-what will the role of data be and how will it change with reopening in a different model?
  • What are the state assessment implications of each of the models we consider?
  • What professional development and support will be needed to transition teachers to each of the models we consider?


  • What will be our process for reviewing current school board/school district policies and governance to determine what deletions/additions/changes need to be made to accommodate reopening?
  • How will we involve the community, parents, employees, board members in the process?
  • What will be the “fast track” review and approval process of changes and new policies?
  • How will we communicate changes to stakeholders along the way and at the conclusion?

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