While COVID-19 has suspended in-school attendance, for the time being, this is a golden opportunity to make improvements to your school’s facilities in anticipation of your students’ return. One aspect of the school you should make time for while it’s empty is the playground because there is no shortage of ways schools can improve playground safety.
The first step to figuring out the best improvements for your playground is to give it a thorough inspection to assess its current condition. You can replace or repair any broken equipment or items showing wear and tear to avoid creating rogue hazards that a child could injure themselves with. You’ll also be able to identify what parts of your playground have the highest amount of foot traffic, so you know what to focus on first.
One of the best ways schools can improve playground safety is with playground surfacing. Injuries caused by falling will always be the most common hazard, so using surfacing materials like wood chips or pour-in-place rubber will reduce the chance of serious injuries by absorbing more shock. If you already have surfacing for your playground, you should take this time to replace and refill it.
Kids don’t quite understand the concept of germs and bacteria—at least not fully. This means they won’t hesitate to touch and share equipment with each other, which can mean a quick build-up of germs on playground equipment. It’s a good idea to start planning for routine sanitation of your playground. Keeping your playground clean and disinfected will prevent outbreaks of disease amongst your students and reduce the spread of germs.
If you’ve noticed parts of your playground being neglected by kids while others are overly-crowded, now is a good time to rezone and rearrange your playground to optimize the space. For example, you don’t want kids who play team sports like football or soccer to have their game accidentally spill outside of their field and colliding with other kids. Making sure there’s enough space for every activity within the playground is essential to avoid kids trampling over each other’s space.