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FCFT’s School Building Readiness Checklist

Updated: Feb 17, 2021


  1. Download the checklist as a PDF here.

  2. Document unsafe conditions using FCFT's COVID Safety Violations Tracker here. Tracker data will be aggregated for public release in the future.

  3. Be sure to connect with your worksite team to organize around safety violations at your school. Email to get connected or start a worksite team.

FCFT’s School Building Readiness Checklist

October 22nd, 2020

The Fairfax County Federation of Teachers’ desire to prepare for a strong and safe reopening is built on our 11 Pillars for a Safe Reopening, including providing a virtual work option for all staff. FCFT’s School Building Readiness Checklist is based on pillars 3 - 6 of our 11 Pillars for a Safe Reopening: Physical Distancing, Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols, Adequate School, Ventilation and Building Systems, & Personal Protective Equipment and Face Coverings.

The items on this checklist incorporate guidance from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and FCFT community partners. They are a set of building readiness standards that meet public health requirements to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This School Building Readiness Checklist is intended to ensure that FCPS facilities meet the safety standards set by America’s leading public health professionals.

This checklist must work in tandem with clear communication from FCPS, robust accountability measures, rigorous contract tracing, proactive school closures, and a virtual work option to keep staff and students safe.

In order to safely reopen, a school building must have the following in place:

Face Coverings, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Daily Temperature Checks, and Hygiene Supplies

School personnel and bus drivers have the necessary face coverings, general and enhanced PPE, and hygiene supplies to support the first two months of programming and have been oriented to the standardized inventory monitoring protocol established by central office for all schools to ensure timely supply replenishment. A review of the school’s inventory indicates that the following items are on-site before and when employees are present.

  • Face coverings without one-way valves/vents with sizes for students and adults (CDC guidance)

  • School has clear protocols for students and adults (staff and visitors) who do not wear their masks (FCPS R2109)

  • School has clear protocols for taking students’ temperatures as students enter buses and buildings

Additionally, the following enhanced PPE supplies will be provided to staff whose roles increase the likelihood of being in closer or more frequent proximity to other staff and students:

  • N95 respirators for those with an accommodation

  • Communicator masks (masks in which the mouth is visible), as needed

  • Supplies of gloves, face shields for adults, medical gowns, and shoe covers as needed (two-months supply for those working in close proximity with students who have difficulty social distancing and in isolation rooms)

Regarding hygiene supplies, school has received:

  • Toilet paper, soap, and disposable towels for student and staff bathrooms

  • Hand sanitizer for placement in the arrival space, hallways, classrooms, offices (both main office and sub school offices), and other shared spaces

  • Temporal thermometers for temperature screenings, and training for staff on how to use the thermometers

Have unavailable items on this checklist been earmarked for ordering and/or are shipments expected?

Cleaning Supplies & Procedures

Schools and buses have the necessary cleaning supplies to support the first two months of programming, and school personnel know where the inventory is located. All cleaning supplies should be from the EPA-registered list in the CDC guidance.

  • School custodial staff have been trained to implement enhanced and deep cleaning protocols

School leadership, school operations staff, and custodial staff understand district-wide cleaning procedures prior to the start of in-person programming and ensure the following practices:

  • Cleaning schedule is determined for custodial staff, and cleaning logs with signatures, dates, and times are posted in each room

  • Custodial staff follow health guidelines when cleaning school buildings

  • School receives deep cleaning prior to initial student return

  • School cleans and disinfects frequently touched surfaces (including desks) at least daily or between use by different students (CDC Guidelines)

  • School receives daily enhanced cleaning of all spaces including, but not limited to, classrooms, offices, auditoriums, healthroom, isolation room, restrooms, gyms, etc.

  • Indoor and outdoor spaces (e.g. play structures) are cleaned at a regular cadence

  • Disposable towels, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes are available in all classrooms conducting in-person programming, using products identified by the EPA. NOTE: Virulex and other sprays are a concern as they are known agitators for asthmatic individuals

  • Protocols for staff and student lunch procedures that address how meals will be handled and waste removed

Socially Distant Space Arrangement

School building is set up to ensure social distancing among staff and students using resources provided by central office. These include, but are not limited to:

  • 6-foot demarcations are set up throughout the building (e.g. arrival and dismissal spaces, hallways, staircases, security and reception areas, main offices and sub-schools, school health rooms, auditoriums, gyms, isolation room)

  • Classrooms are arranged and marked to ensure physical distancing and desks are arranged with 6-ft. separation between student seats and teachers’ stations

  • Extra furniture in classrooms has been removed to ensure social distancing is enforced

  • Plans are published for hallway traffic patterns and passing times, ideally staggered as encouraged by the CDC

  • Shared staff spaces are arranged and marked for 6-ft. distancing (e.g. copy room, workroom, eating areas/lounges)

  • Plexiglass partitions are installed in main offices and sub school offices; plexiglass partitions are installed in classrooms, as requested by staff

  • During meals, staff and students are able to eat in a designated space with 6-ft. distancing in a properly ventilated space


School has COVID-19 health signage (in English, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, and other languages spoken at the designated school) posted outside of the building, in arrival/dismissal spaces, hallways and staircases, restrooms, offices/lobbies, healthroom (inside and outside), isolation room, and classrooms. Signage should be age appropriate, and written in a font size that is visible and readable from at least 6 feet away and provide instructions and guidelines on the following health practices:

  • How to stop the spread of COVID-19

  • Symptom identification

  • Hand hygiene, including protocols for:

    • How to properly wash and dry hands

    • How frequently/when students and staff shall wash hands

  • Social distancing and what it specifically looks like in halls, auditoriums, gyms, classrooms, bathrooms, isolation room, elevators, and offices (main, subschool, health, security, etc.)

  • Correct mask use according to CDC Guidance

Water Access

When possible, shared hallway drinking fountains are turned off to prevent risk of virus transmission. Bottle fillers connected to hallway drinking fountains will remain on for use. If a school does not have bottle fillers throughout the building, FCPS should provide water coolers and/or water bottles in the building to support programming with a schedule for regular maintenance and replenishment.


“Properly ventilated space” addresses air exchanges per hour and filtration systems. Air exchanges per hour indicate how efficiently the air is being diluted in the room. Under normal conditions, ASHRAE recommends a minimum of 3 air exchanges/hour in a room. With SARS-CoV-2, air exchanges should be doubled in order to dilute any virus that may be lingering in the space. To meet these recommendations, systems would require a higher percentage of outside air being introduced into the system, and ASHRAE recommends up to 75% to 100% outside air. Filtration systems can be installed in mechanical ventilation so that harmful microorganisms, viruses, particulates, gases, odors, and vapors can be removed. ASHRAE recommends MERV-13 or higher filters for SARS-CoV-2. Filters must be changed on a regular maintenance schedule.

The building engineer is the best point of contact for this knowledge.

  • Maintenance of the system is available to staff and demonstrates the system has been appropriately modified, inspected, and tested.

HVAC air exchanges and filtration systems:

  • Dampers are opened to allow in maximum fresh air (75-100%)

  • Ability to identify the number of air exchanges per hour are 6 exchanges/hr

  • Filters are upgraded to MERV-13 or higher

For spaces without HVAC access and/or require HEPA filters:

  • Spaces have access to operable windows

  • Exhausters work and push air out of the space; fans should not bring air into people’s breathing paths

  • Heating systems are modernized to accommodate MERV-13 or higher filters

  • HEPA filters are placed in appropriate locations in the building, as needed (spaces without access to HVAC or operable windows)

  • HEPA filters have the proper capacity for the size of the spaces in which they are placed (especially in isolation rooms and nurses’ offices)

Building Preparedness:


  • All sinks are operable in all restrooms with running hot and cold water

    • If not, a work order has been submitted and the operational plans have been adjusted

    • Paper towels are readily available

    • All hand dryers have been disconnected in school

  • Toilets are operable in all bathrooms.

    • If not, a work order has been submitted and the operational plans have been adjusted

    • Toilet paper is readily available

  • Cleaning schedule shows daily/nightly updates and is posted with signatures indicating date and time of completed cleaning

Public Health Nurse or Student Health Aid

It is the responsibility of FCPS to ensure that each school has a designated and trained health professional to assist with mitigation, communication, and assessment of health guidelines during this global pandemic.

  • School has a full-time, on-site public health nurse or student health aid

  • There is a designated waiting area that permits social distancing if more than one child arrives

  • There is proper ventilation, including additional portable HEPA filtration in the school health room

  • The office has enough space to socially distance

  • There is a functioning sink with adequate supplies available for handwashing in the clinic/health room

  • Established protocols for students going to the school public health nurse or student health aid, versus the isolation room, are communicated to and known by staff and students

Isolation Rooms

FCPS has ensured the safety of staff and students by separating students exhibiting COVID-like symptoms from other regular healthcare concerns (e.g. medicinal administration, diabetes assistance, etc.). In order to achieve this separation, FCPS has declared “isolation rooms” for individuals exhibiting COVID-like symptoms, but safety within those settings is also a priority. Prior to a school’s opening, the isolation room should be supplied with enough PPE, cleaning supplies, etc. for at least two months.

  • School has an identified isolation room whose location is made known to staff and students

  • Isolation room includes a waiting area for students with fever and symptoms

  • A separate, dedicated restroom for those exhibiting COVID-like symptoms while in the isolation room

  • There is proper ventilation, including additional portable HEPA filtration in the isolation room

  • The isolation room is large enough to provide 6 feet between people

  • The public health nurse or student health aid been consulted regarding the appropriateness of the isolation room’s setup, protocols, and supplies

  • PPE is stored safely to prevent contamination and is accessible to any staff monitoring the room

  • There is an area in which to put on and take off PPE, and a designated trash receptacle for safe disposal of PPE

  • The isolation room receives a deep cleaning daily with a log of cleaning record (including name of cleaner, date, and time)

    • Stations for individuals being cared for are thoroughly cleaned according to CDC guidelines after each individual’s visit


In order to safely reopen, a school building must have the following protocols in place and communicate them to staff, students, and the school community:

Health room / isolation room / exhibiting symptoms protocols:

  • Going to the school clinic/health room and isolation room and guidelines for when to go to either

  • There is a protocol for students leaving early from the isolation room when exhibiting COVID-like symptoms

  • Staff exhibiting COVID-like symptoms; if staff are asked to leave, guidelines must be established for:

    • Who will secure coverage for the staff member’s classes

    • Where the classes will be covered (students should not remain in the sick staff member’s room, and covering staff should not be required to risk exposure in that room)

    • Cleaning a staff member’s room when that person is ill

Entry / dismissal protocols:

  • There is an entry protocol for staff and students

  • There is a visitor protocol for parents, deliveries, construction contractors, etc.

  • There is a dismissal protocol that staff and the community are aware of

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