How to re-open schools during COVID19 pandemic?

During this pandemic of COVID19, this question “How to re-open schools?” is among the most challenging ones. Here we try to look at some schools’ experiences so far. We also hope some technologies we recently introduced to Hong Kong market from our USA partner InReality would help the schools to tackle.

Safe Space product suite: Thermal Mirror

With over 1,000 installations already in the United States.

With over 1,000 customers already using it in United States, this Safe Space product Thermal Mirror from our partner inReality empowers the venues such as schools to protect their students, visiting parents, & employees with a non-invasive, anonymous testing mechanism with virtually no intrusion and nominal cost to maintain.

The venue could even set up automatic alert triggers for immediate action.

This solution requires that an image is taken to indicate the thermal results but does not store those images. The schools management could even set up automatic alert triggers for immediate action when, for example, more than 2 students were detected with fever.

More information at the FAQ in inReality website (link).


The RCHK International School in Hong Kong

“It is more peaceful to use,
and less scary.”

“Actually we found it fast and user-friendly. Also, what we like is, for the parents and visitors, they don’t have the feeling of being “attacked” by the guards with the thermometer gun. It is more peaceful to use, and less scary. People like the fact that they can also see their own temperatures, it reassured them (instead of sometimes when you are (monitored by) the gun or the camera and you know someone is doing something with your temperature but you don’t know the outcomes). Now, you can see your own temperature.

Before using Thermal Mirror, we were losing a lot of time. Now, with this automatic system, the guards could focus back on their original duties.

We like also the “No Mask (detected)” message (from the automatic system for visitors), because it is a reminder to the people for not only their own temperatures, but also “Please wear the mask” (to protect other people).

After a couple of weeks using it, it looks like people are reassured. It looks very techie, and people are reassured by the fact we use technology to fight against the virus.

About the time and cost saving. To check temperature is new thing in Hong Kong and most of the world, and we have a team of security guards. So, we were losing a lot of time. Now, with this automatic system, the guards could focus back on their original duties, meaning safety, answering questions of visitors, and checking badges.”

Full interview
link: The RCHK International School in Hong Kong

The outlook

According to the NPR news on 2020 July 23, 7AM ET, unfortunately, the COVID19 virus may stay forever and the natural herd immunity is just a dream (ref. 1). On the other brighter side though, as of 2020 late July, 2 vaccine candidates successfully finished phase 2 trial, and have already started the final stage 3 trial with 30,000 humans. Vaccines could likely reduce significant infections.

Positive deviance

How some schools are fighting the virus COVID19

According to the PBS news on 2020 April 2 (ref. 2), one place (once predicted by Johns Hopkins University) would have been the next worst hit by COVID19 virus but somehow could fight the coronavirus quite successfully.There seem at least three approaches worth mentioning here:

1. At society level, their holistic ways to prevent hoarding and price gouging (ref. 2). Critical supplies such as surgical masks are well managed. So, all people including students could afford and wear masks when going outside from home.

2. At school level, some preventive measures were in place before re-opening, for example, students during the re-opening will be taught with basic hygiene such as how to wash their hands properly (ref. 3).

3. At school level, the schools were also well prepared. For example, everyday they’ll check the body temperature of the students, plus the clear standards to guide closure if needed later after re-opening (ref. 3).

“If one student (or teacher) infected,
the individual class will shut down”
“If two infections,
the entire school will shut down
(beforehand, online learning facility was already in place).”

Reference 1
5 minutes NPR hourly news (audio podcast at 0:01:41), 2020 July 23, 7AM ET (link) .

Reference 2
7 minutes PBS news summary, 2020 April 2 (link) .

Reference 3
9 minutes Japan NHK World news summary, 2020 March 31 (link) .