Returning to In-Person Learning During the Pandemic: Visual Supports

Your classroom has probably always been filled with visual supports. But this school year isn't like any other year... we are having to rethink and change routines & expectations, which can be really tough for students. I want to share 3 types of visuals that can support learners when returning to in-person learning during the pandemic.  
Note: This post has Amazon affiliate links. I personally purchased all of the linked materials for my classroom and they've been great! I was not given the materials nor am I paid by the companies for promoting them. I simply get a few cents from Amazon if you purchase them through my links.

First let me say that it's important to remember that every district, state and school will have different guidelines and expectations around returning to in-person learning safely. My guidelines might be different than yours, make sure you are following your specific guidelines.

Hygiene & cleaning visuals:

Your cleaning routines and expectations have probably changed a lot due to COVID. We have to clean more often and use different cleaning products. We are using a variety of schedules to remind students & staff what times we need to clean. We also have visual task analyses to support with cleaning tables, washing hands correctly and wearing masks correctly.  

Visuals for returning to the special education classroom

Visuals for returning to the special education classroom

This 20 second hand washing timer is AMAZING! When students tap it, it lights up for 20 seconds. After 20 seconds, the light turns off and it quietly beeps to indicate that students have washed their hands long enough. It can be found here (affiliate link).

Visuals for returning to the special education classroom

Routine visuals:

I normally have at least a few students returning to our classroom who I taught the previous year. That is always nice because some of our daily routines stay the same year to year, so students come in with prior knowledge & skills around the routines. It seems like 99% of our routines have to change this year, so I'm really upping the visual supports for routines!

We are using visuals for organizing clean and dirty materials. We are teaching students that they can get items from "clean" buckets and spaces and once they use the item, it should go into the "dirty" buckets.  We have "clean" and "dirty" buckets for a variety of items like books, toys/ free choice materials, cleaning rags, etc. Teachers will remove items from the "dirty" buckets periodically throughout the day. Then we will clean or quarantine the materials based on our district guidelines. 

You can find the clean and dirty labels from my TpT shop here.

We also made a new routine for students to check out toys/ materials for free choice and break time. We have materials organized in bins on a shelf that has clean and dirty cubbies. We use a visual schedule and "checked out" cards to support students and staff with the process. You can see the below images to read more about our routine. We are using mostly plastic toys and cleaning them with a disinfectant spray provided to us from the district.

We have new routines & expectations for moving around the classroom space. We are teaching students to use certain walking patterns/ routes to move around the classroom and stay social distanced. We use carpet strips to make arrows to support students and staff with the walking routes. 

You can find the carpet marker strips on Amazon here (affiliate link).

Visual boundaries:

In an ideal world, we would be able to use furniture, like bookshelves or dividers, to create physical boundaries to make social distanced spaces. However, many of us don't have the needed furniture or space to do this. I'm using carpet strips and circle velcro markers to create boundaries for students' individual work spaces, for maintaining social distancing when lining up and

You can find these velcro circle spots on Amazon here (affiliate link)

I hope this helps you with setting up your classroom with visuals! Hang in there & stay healthy!

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