Scheduling Back to In-person Learning: Health and Safety Must Be a Priority

May 5, 2021 6:40 AM ET

As administrators of institutions of learning, lower, middle and higher, start planning their “back to classroom” sessions, one item will dominate that agenda: The health, wellness and security of staff, students and faculty. It’s very likely that some forms of protective and distancing protocols will still be the mandate, at least for the foreseeable future. Planning, in this environment is impossible without some automated help. A robust resource booking system is the only way to ensure everyone’s safety.  

Understanding the Challenge

Unlike some one-facility commercial businesses, many educational institutions are multi-facility operations. Typically, because it also makes good business sense, these facilities are often geographically dispersed to offer the benefits of learning to the largest set of the learning public. What’s more, as administrators schedule classes and courses institution-wide, staff, students and faculty members may even require to travel between campuses throughout the day.


Why is it important to keep those facts in mind? Because, in such an environment, scheduling gets even more complicated! Without a state-of-the-art online booking system, it’ll be extremely challenging to plan, organize and implement a multi-campus safe learning environment. 

Addressing the Challenges

Once in-person learning does resume, the safety and wellness challenges won’t necessarily be restricted to ensuring appropriate distancing between seating. It goes way beyond that. In fact, especially in a multi-campus environment of shared resourced and faculty, many other ancillary questions need addressing:

How does one know when a particular classroom or lecture hall has reached safe limits of habitation?
How can administrators quickly and effectively communicate with faculty and students of possible redirect (to other campuses) when space limitations have been exceeded in the primary location? 
What happens if a laboratory or working hall is double-booked – how will that impact schedule classes for the day?
How do you plan rotating routine and deep cleaning of facilities and resources, without disrupting the teaching day?
Will there be enough parking space available for everyone, without compromising health and safety?

The only way to address these challenges is through proper planning and scheduling, and by ensuring timely communication between all parties – staff, students, administrators, faculty, maintenance crews. Using a resource scheduling and booking system is the best – and safest – way to implement protocols that address all these challenges.

Choosing Your Scheduling Tools

As a faculty administrator, you’ll likely see ideas pitched to you about how “clever” spreadsheets are at scheduling. You may also come across various dazzling apps and workflow websites that promise to solve your resource booking and scheduling challenges. The questions that you must answer are:

Do those tools have an unblemished track record?
Are they currently widely used and understood?
Since staff and student personal data may reside in them, are they secure?
Do they have the ability to connect with your institutions’ email system for safe and efficient planning and secure email communication?
Do they come with top-of-the-like IT support to help you grant different levels of access to various staffing roles?

Right now, under the current climate that most learning center administrators face, your utmost priority should be on the safety and wellness of everyone that uses your campuses. Using an online booking system that understands and addresses these issues will likely ease, your “back to school” planning. 

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