Spero Academy is a quiet place these days -- strange and a little melancholy in the absence of our students and most of our staff. Without the daily effervescence of our Spero Heroes, great and small, the wide hallways seem cavernous and cloudy.
But as strange and silent as this new Spero Academy is, we know that this is temporary and also for the best. Like any place right now, more space, more distance, and fewer people equals more safety. And safety at Spero is a serious matter, as we have a number of essential players who remain onsite during building hours. These include our essential operational and custodial staff and the Spero staff providing childcare to children of essential workers.
What precautions are being taken to keep onsite employees safe and healthy at work?
Let’s start with a phrase we’ve all come to know: Social Distancing. Spero has implemented guidelines regarding the number of staff who can be in the building at any time. Regular onsite staffing is limited to essential employees. All other staff must sign up for time slots for any work needing to be completed onsite. Teachers and other remote Spero staff can also post tasks online for onsite staff to complete, enabling as many as possible to stay at home.
There are strict rules for entering the building. No one with symptoms of illness enters, and no one enters without a temperature check. Protocol for sanitizing before entering the building is posted at the temp check station.
Once inside, staff are required to maintain physical distance, working in separate offices, communicating electronically whenever possible, and conducting all meetings virtually.
Protective gear is another important part of workplace safety. Washable, reusable masks are available and staff are encouraged to wear them when moving and working in shared spaces. These shared spaces are regularly and thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, with special attention paid to frequently touched surfaces.
Is Spero’s child care program practicing physical distancing?
Yes! We have enough staff onsite to support the students accessing childcare, while still upholding our minimal onsite staff rule. These staff help our students practice physical distancing while still getting to see and socialize with their peers and some familiar staff.
We are also limiting the areas of the building in use by the childcare program. This helps to ensure the cleanliness and safety of any areas accessed by the children and to minimize contact between the childcare program and non-childcare staff.
What about the drivers and transportation staff bringing food, technology, and academic materials to student homes?
To protect these employees from unnecessary exposure, Spero Academy and our transportation company have coordinated scheduled drop-off dates for all of these items. This is meant to limit trips to and from the school and minimize employee contact with the public.
By ensuring the safety and sanitation of our building and ourselves, we ensure the safety and sanitation of all materials given to drivers and transportation staff, as well as our students and families.
What can we all do to help keep essential employees safe at work?
It is all of our shared responsibility to make sure we are taking precautions and acting mindfully to protect the safety and wellbeing of those around us -- especially those who come into contact with people on the job. Here are simple ways all of us can help:
- Limit trips to the grocery store and other essential errands
- Allow employees to maintain physical distance -- If the parking lot of a store looks crowded, consider coming at another time
- When shopping for essentials, avoid touching things without buying them
- Wear a cloth face mask when shopping or attending necessary medical appointments. This will help protect employees who are required to be within that 6-foot radius of you (cashiers, for example, as well as healthcare professionals)
- Be patient and mindful of the 6-foot rule and make sure you are allowing this space
Thank you to the families providing support to our community at this time, and thank you to all first responders, healthcare professionals, and other essential employees working through this time of unprecedented challenge.
For a glimpse of how other Spero staff are fairing during this school closure, stay tuned for our Spero Para Feature. We’ll hear from some of our paraprofessional staff about the joys and rewards of their work, and what they are doing to stay connected to their students and their work during this time.