A school is like the second home for a kid and therefore, it has to be safe enough. As children staying their schools without their parents’ supervision for long hours, it is a serious concern about how to make the property a safe haven for the little learners.
Let us list here some features and facilities that may add extra safety to the schools1. The safety features should be included in the school building as well as on the premises to keep the entire zone protected and child-proof as much as possible.
1. School entrance
First and foremost, the entrance has to be protected and should always be under surveillance. Other than digital surveillance, human security is also important. Students should be well monitored when they are entering or leaving the school premise. Any unusual time-entry or exit should also be recorded digitally and inquired with care.
2. Broad driveway
A broader driveway inside the premises is always an advantage. It helps students to come safely into the school building. This is especially applicable for students who come to school by private transport. The best solution for traffic management on the driveway is to employ extra staff or to make a separate track for school buses altogether.
3. Staircases: Less steep with durable railings
Staircases are one of the places in a school that can be the cause of some unwanted incidents. For example, slippery tiles or marbles are dangerous for kids. It is also difficult for them to climb the stairs if the steps are too steep or too narrow.
Railings alongside the steps are another major safety concern. Children holding the staircase railing may fall down if the latter is not fitted strongly. So along with staircases, the railings have to be constructed with best planning.
4. Flooring: Clean but not slippery
Floor of the corridor and classrooms are the places where students walk, run, jump, AND often slip off! Therefore, the floor surfaces should be non-slippery. Adequate friction is necessary for proper stepping, especially for toddlers. Even students of upper classes who are walking with loads of books and copies most of the time run the risk of slipping if the floor is too smooth. Therefore, maintaining the floor is the key to ensuring safety.
5. Classroom structure and arrangement
The classroom is where children spend the largest share of their school time. Therefore, every part of the classroom should ensure total comfort and safety for the children. Some of the suggested features of a safe & clean classroom are:
- Sufficient ventilation in the class;
- If the classroom is air-conditioned, there has to be enough provision of natural entry of sunlight if AC gets off;
- The desk and benches should not have sharp edges;
- Electric connection and light and fan fixtures should be well maintained so that no hazardous incidents occur. In the toddler’s section, the switchboards should be fitted away from the reach of the small children;
- CCTV surveillance is one of the features that will help teachers to track the whole class. Students will get alarmed about CCTV that their unruly behavior is being monitored even in the absence of the teacher. Not only behavior monitoring but this will also ensure better safety for the children;
- The walls and ceilings should be damp-free. Damp walls attract microbes which cause allergy and other health problems. Moreover, dampness damages the wall structure as well as the paint on it causing it to pop up and fall off. Falling chunks from the ceilings and walls may invite unnecessary mishaps and flaky paint may cause irritation in eyes of the children.
6. Entry to the terrace should be made restricted
A terrace is another vulnerable point of the school. Students may like to stroll there but there are risks involved in this habit. A rooftop cannot be a reliable place for kids to play, no matter how old they are.
Therefore school terrace has to stay protected. The entry gate should remain locked and the keys should stay out of the access of the students.
7. Bathrooms should be well maintained
Not only hygiene but the safety of bathrooms is also crucial in schools – both for the kids as well as for growing children. The door lock should be of a simple type which kids can operate easily.
The washroom for girls and boys should be strictly different. Girls’ toilet premises must be protected with locked doors with CCTV installed outside it.
Both the bathrooms should be kept super clean with a proper supply of water and regular availability of basic toiletries. Floor etc. should be mopped at regular intervals so that there is minimum risk of slipping on it.
8. Drinking water area should be kept dry
The school must have well-maintained water purifiers in the student arena where they can fill their water bottles and/or drink water if needed. The height of the tap should be within the reach of the junior students also. The area must be made with non-slippery floor for added safety.
9. Fire Safety: A must
According to the government’s school safety policy guidelines, every school must adopt adequate measures for fire management and control. They must have enough number of fire extinguishers and fire exits as per the building’s size and area. Plus, fire drills must be conducted from time to time involving students and staff so that in times of emergencies, everything is under control in the least possible time. For detailed safety rules in school, click here2.
10. Safety in the playground
Accidents on playground are quite common. To minimize their occurrence, the ground must be maintained properly – grass cover cut short, potholes covered, and debris of construction materials, if any, removed. The cricket/ football fields or basketball/ volleyball grounds also need to be well maintained. Trees near the ground should be properly trimmed so that the risk of an accident by uprooted trees can be minimized.
11. Sick room with first aid arrangement
The school must have the provision for a sick room where students can take rest if they fall sick for some reason. The availability of the first-aid box, one or two nursing staff, and doctor-on-call can help in managing critical hours of ailment and accidents in school till the concerned guardians/ help reach on spot.
These are some of the basic safety features that make a school safe and secure for the students besides their emotional and physical safety. With all these arrangements in place, parents can be a little sorted in mind thinking that their kids will be safe during school hours.
Children are sent to school for their overall development. But staying safe physically, mentally and emotionally is equally important for enjoying the growth and education, in the school. If the school authority maintains safety within their premises, parents can enjoy their peace of mind. However, maintaining safety in such a huge property is not an easy task. And it is certainly not the job of the teaching and non-teaching staff. For an expert and detailed inspection for safety, professional inspection companies must be hired. They will check the property for construction quality and safety issues from time to time and ensure that no casualty happen when children are in the school.