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4 Steps to Prepare Schools for Covid-19

PreparedA new coronavirus disease, now known as Covid-19, has infected over 110,000 people world-wide and killed more than 4,000. The majority of cases and deaths continue to be in China, but now we are seeing a significant jump in cases in Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iran, and the United States. More noteworthy, last week, schools in a number of areas are being closed.  In addition, California and a number of other states have just declared a state of emergency. So, what steps can you follow as an administrator or teacher to prepare for Covid-19?

Be ahead of the game

A recent article from CNN, 10 Lessons from Asia, suggests #3 as “Be ahead of the game.” But what does that mean for you and your district? If you have ever attended a TregoED Strategic Tools for Excellent Problem Solving Workshop (S.T.E.P.S. 1), you might go find your  yellow Potential Problem Analysis Card – which features 4 steps to help leaders plan for tough situations.

If you are unfamiliar with TregoED’s strategic Potential Problem Analysis Tool (PPA), TregoED would like to offer free assistance in developing your risk management/mitigation plan using our 4 steps to prepare schools for Covid-19. 

Potential Problem Analysis steps to help you plan for and mitigate potential problems

Minimizing Future Problems

If you have taken the workshop, you are more prepared than most people to deal with the virus.  Your ability to get ready stems from using Potential Problem Analysis to develop a PLAN.   Your customized family, classroom, school and district’s plan will be the quickest and most efficient way to help you structure and manage your activities as you prepare for Covid-19.  And most importantly, you can do something right now to avoid and/or minimize future problems from this virus.

Using PPA

Just last week, TregoED used PPA with a client to begin that important work. Their plan started with an Implementation Statement: “Plan for the impact Covid-19 could have on the district.”  They began by breaking the large group into four smaller and more manageable teams focused around Operations, Finance, Facilities and People.

Here’s how it works

4 Steps to prepare schools for Covid-19

Step 1:  Each group identified what could go wrong in their area of focus by brainstorming Potential Problems. Next, they prioritized each potential problem by identifying the probability that this problem will occur and if it does occur what is the seriousness?  They used a simple scale for probability and seriousness of High, Medium and Low.

Step 2:  They took the most significant potential problems which were identified as having a high probability and high seriousness and developed “Likely Causes” for each of these potential problems.  Each group identified likely causes for all the HIGH/HIGH and HIGH/MEDIUM potential problems on their lists.

Step 3:  They developed Preventive Actions for each likely cause.  This helped them understand the many things they can do to keep each likely cause from happening.  In addition, they determined who in the district will be responsible for each preventive action and how soon it must be ready.

Step 4:  They developed a list of Contingent Actions for each potential problem. The contingent actions will be started when a potential problem occurs. These actions will identify what steps they can do when a potential problem occurs and how they will reduce the seriousness if it does occur. Again, in this step, they identified what needs to be done, who will be responsible and by when each contingent action will be in place and ready to go.

We are not done yet!

Finally, they identified what Triggers will alert them when a potential problem has occurred and will automatically initiate their contingent actions.

What at first seemed like an overwhelming and daunting effort was quickly addressed with a structure and format that guided their thinking and helped them develop very robust plans.  The end result was a series of actionable steps that can be shared with colleagues, school leadership, the community and the Board.  Not a bad day of work  with the output as a visible, well organized, effective set of plans for dealing with Covid-19!!

Resources to Jump Start your thinking

But wait!  You may ask “What happens if I already have my yellow card in my hand and I am stuck getting my thinking started?”   Well, the CDC has a terrific website specifically for schools.  This website does a nice job of laying out some preventive actions (Guidance for schools that do not have Covid-19) and then describing some contingent actions (Guidance for schools that have Covid-19) that can help jump start your critical thinking to address what has become  a very scary situation.

With a plan built with your best thinking and using PPA, you and your district will be ready for Covid-19.  Your efforts will significantly help protect your students, other teachers and your district against this deadly illness. With TregoED  training in PPA you have a simple tool that is highly effective in helping you to take actions that will minimize the impact of future potential problems.  If the virus arrives, you have clear steps on when to act, what to do and the support of your staff.

Would you like some free help in developing your plan using PPA?  Please Contact Michael Curran-Hays at mcurranhays@tregoed.org.