Resuming K-12 school operations and activities

Resuming K-12 school operations and activities

Our planning guide can be helpful as you look to re-open or expand operations. Remember to always adhere to federal, state, and local requirements, CDC guidelines, and recommendations of in-house counsel.

Due to the rapidly evolving nature of exposure, we recommend your school create a COVID-19 task force with a designated leader to coordinate and manage efforts to address COVID-19 on an on-going basis.

Re-opening considerations


  • Follow CDC, state, and local public health department guidelines for:
    • Policy/procedure development and implementation on monitoring, testing, and administration of COVID-19 issues with students, parents, and staff.
    • Occupancy and physical distancing requirements.
    • Cleaning, disinfecting, proper hygiene, and personal protective measures.        
    • CDC guidance on ”Opening America Up Again” including schools.
  • Continue to encourage virtual learning/education while resuming operations in a carefully planned phased-in and staged approach.
  • Restrict non-essential visitors and volunteers.
  • Post signage in key building locations to advise of the following:
    • Not to enter if they feel sick.
    • Etiquette surrounding coughing and sneezing.
    • Hand-washing hygiene.
    • Use of face coverings in accordance with state and local public health recommendations.
  • When re-opening buildings, work with maintenance to assess the operation of the HVAC and water systems, change air filters, and flush water systems.
  • Identify, address, and modify/restrict areas where people tend to congregate.
  • Discontinue after-hours school facility use by outside groups.

Employee safety

  • Follow CDC guidelines for approved cleaning products and appropriate cleaning and disinfecting techniques.
  • Increase staff or consider utilizing third-party cleaning vendors to assist your staff with re-opening, as well as ongoing increased cleaning demands.
  • Equip staff with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) based on job tasks and follow state and local public health recommendations on the use of face coverings. Ensure all staff is trained on changes in increased cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
  • Address employee wellness by providing frequent breaks and open communication channels.
  • Follow CDC and state guidelines reminding employees who feel sick to stay home.
  • For school administration/business office personnel, see Liberty Mutual Insurance guidance for restoring office operations.

Student safety

  • Prohibit sharing of items or supplies including toys, art and science supplies, electronic devices, etc.
  • Increase frequency of cleaning and disinfecting in high-touch areas, such as restrooms, door handles, electronics, common areas, handrails, etc.
  • Post guidelines and instructions and enforce them regarding physical distancing and proper hygiene practices.
  • Arrange classroom seating to accommodate physical distancing protocols.
  • Place hand sanitizer in classrooms for student/staff use.

Transportation safety

  • Stagger arrival and pickup times or locations to limit congregating and contact.
  • Organize an effective queuing approach to accommodate physical distancing for students in the loading/unloading process.
  • Modify school vehicles to encourage physical distancing between the driver and passengers during vehicle operation and in the loading/unloading process (partitions, floor markings, signage, etc.).
  • Adhere to CDC, state, and local guidance on physical distancing and occupancy limits for school vehicles.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch areas in a vehicle. This would include:
    • Handles and handrails
    • Arm and head rests, seats, and seat belts
    • Windowsills
    • Steering wheel and operational controls
  • Follow CDC guidance involving bus transit operators.

Extracurricular activities/athletics safety

  • Evaluate all extracurricular activities, fundraising programs, and student clubs for necessity and conversion to virtual offerings.
  • Give consideration to, and discus with legal counsel about, adding a COVID-19 clause to extracurricular event participation agreements and waivers of liability.
  • Adhere to the guidance of the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) and state athletic associations for sports and athletic activity re-opening assistance.
  • Evaluate the necessity of re-opening playgrounds, pools, fitness centers, and other areas or events where people can congregate as well as pose difficulty for frequent cleaning/disinfecting and physical distancing.
  • Frequently clean all facilities and equipment with approved disinfecting solution, paying extra attention to high-touch areas (weights, balls, mats, handrails, switches, handles, etc.).
  • Prohibit sharing of equipment (sport specific, towels, athletic tape, wraps, etc.).
  • Limit size of gatherings. See CDC guidance for mass gatherings.

Food service safety

  • Eliminate cafeteria use and serve individual plated meals/box lunches to students in classrooms.
  • If cafeteria is to be utilized:
    • Eliminate self-service beverage stations, salad bars, and other open food serving opportunities.
    • Limit and arrange cafeteria seating to allow for physical distancing and occupancy limits.
    • Modify cafeteria serving lines to encourage physical distancing between food service workers, students, and staff.
    • Organize an effective queuing approach to accommodate physical distancing for students in the cafeteria food service.     
    • Serve individual plated meals / box lunches to students.
    • Stagger seating times to allow more room for students to spread out.
  • For additional food service guidance see Liberty Mutual’ s restarting operations in the restaurant industry.


Communicate to employees, students, parents, and your community about the steps you are taking to help keep them safe. Capture and document your programs and efforts for future reference.

Download PDF

Your safety and well-being are our primary concern. These suggestions are general in nature, so please ensure that any activities you contemplate comply with all federal, state, and local COVID-19 orders impacting your facilities or operations as well as CDC guidelines for social distancing, hygiene, and other recommended best practices.

Our risk control services are advisory only. We assume no responsibility for: managing or controlling customer safety activities, implementing any recommended corrective measures, or identifying all potential hazards. No attempt has been made to interpret any referenced codes, standards, or regulations. Please refer to the appropriate government authority for interpretation or clarification.