Back to school safely


The reopening of schools and universities means that administrators must adhere to strict regulations to ensure safety and to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the learning workplace.

Teachers, learners and institution’s employees must all be screened to ascertain whether they have any of the observable symptoms associated with COVID-19; namely fever, cough, sore throat, redness of eyes, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell being common symptoms.

Capturing the daily data from each and every individual involved is also a regulatory requirement as is a high level of sanitation, frequent hand washing, wearing PPE and social distancing. Manual capture of information will be time consuming, costly and lacks the robustness of reporting and audit.

As reported on this month’s front cover, Touchwork has developed two electronic regenerative tools that provide real-time health screening, combining COVID-19 symptom checks and temperature readings from an infrared thermometer.

While ClickScan enables learners from ECD and Grades 1 to 7 to quickly and easily implement a compliance solution at low cost, HealthScan is aimed at learners from Grade 8 to 12 and universities.

The tools work in the same way as described in a business application with the following procedural changes to suit educational establishments.

Once activated, ClickScan provides learners an identification barcode by email which can be attached to message books for younger learners or accessed via phones for those more senior; the institution is issued with a screening link which is accessed at the workplace.

  • When learners and educators arrive at the institution their barcode is scanned, their temperature taken and they answer the required COVID questionnaire.
  • The onsite screening team access the link via a browser-based barcode scanner. After scanning the ID, a risk assessment survey is completed and the temperature taken and entered using a standard infra-red thermometer.
  • This can be done on any phone, tablet or computer with a camera. If the learner or educator fails the assessment, the system will forward an internal alert to, for example the principal and they will be asked to return home following the appropriate isolation protocols.
  • The system includes the ability to screen visitors and learners and educators who have forgotten their identification.

HealthScan provides more functionality and is recommended for Grades 8 to 12 and universities.

Learners and teachers complete a daily risk assessment before leaving for their school/university using their phones or computer. If they pass the assessment, the system sends them an access pass which they need to show when they arrive at the workplace. Temperature will still be taken, and is entered into the system via the scanner tool link.

Learners and teachers who fail the self-assessment receive a red or yellow notice to seek additional screening, or not to come to school/university. In both cases, the educator nominee is notified via email.

The system could also be used to screen for other diseases such as TB, or could be changed to provide attendance recording and workflows post-COVID.

TouchWork CEO Rudi Leitner says this innovation can be installed for as little as R500 per month and offers major benefits to schools and universities.

“Implementing this learner and educator screening will ensure that you meet all government requirements in terms or screening and you have a fully auditable record of your Covid-19 Screening processes.”

“Apart from your infrared thermometer there is no need to buy expensive equipment!” he added.

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