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Safety Protocols for Student Businesses in the COVID-19 Classroom

When the world changes, so too does the way clubs, events, and fundraisers in school work.

Strict guidelines and standards have changed how teachers guide their students – especially when it comes to cooking and running things like coffee carts and breakfast bars. Thankfully, safety protocols for student businesses in the COVID-19 classroom make the experience safe for all students and teachers involved.

With some creative thinking and a willingness to step outside the box, students can successfully run many of the cooking-related stands and events that they have in the past.

The tips below will help you guide your students’ businesses and make sure that everything is up to the current standards required to keep everyone healthy and safe.


Safety Protocols for Cooking and Serving Food During COVID-19

Personal Protection Equipment

Consider your students as the first line of defense against transmitting illness while running their coffee stand or food cart. Make sure that they are diligently washing their hands, wearing masks, and face shields.

If they do not have access to their own gear, use some of the past profits from the food sales to purchase it for all of the students and staff working the cart or station.

Plexiglass Shields

Turn that food cart into an enclosed station for preparing orders with the help of some plexiglass. Mount plexiglass around the edges of the cart to separate workers from customers so that food does not become contaminated as well.

Prepay

Look into accepting pre-payments instead of handling money during checkout. Venmo or PayPal might be options that staff and students can use to send money for their orders.

If your school has a food payment system that you currently use for the food cart, look into continuing with that and requiring everyone to prepay before they come to the cart.

Contactless Pick-up

While deliveries may have been a beloved customer service experience during normal times, contactless pick-up could be a safer alternative for students and staff.

Have brown paper bags available and pack orders in bags for customers to pick up. Write staff and students’ names on the bags before placing them on a separate table or cart.

Timed Pick-ups

Whether you are doing contactless pick-ups or in-person pick-ups, have times spaced out so that there are not many people in the space at one time. Mark the floor to indicate 6-feet apart while people are picking up their order.

Use Pre-Packaged Food

While your students may be used to cooking and preparing food on their own, during this challenging time, consider having just pre-packaged food available. You can find everything from pre-packaged breakfast muffins to bags of snacks, protein bars, drinks, and more. Your students’ delicious cooking and hot meal service can return at a later date.

However you decide to run your food cart or coffee station, make sure that your students understand the seriousness of personal hygiene. It is still possible to run your student business, but it may look different this year than it has in the past.

That in itself is a great learning experience about adaptability for your students!

How are you handling cooking in the classroom and/or your student businesses in school this year? Share in the comments below!


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I'm a special education teacher, presenter, curriculum writer, and educational blogger behind Mrs. D's Corner.
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