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How to Prepare for Face-to-Face Work and Classes Safely

For hybrid work and learning, face-to-face engagements, and the back-to-office hustle

Even with lenient alert levels in place, the Philippines’ fight against COVID-19 is ever-present. As more local government units roll out their vaccination efforts, they’re also here to remind us that extra safety measures should be followed on top of the known COVID-19 safety protocols.

Given these, public and private sectors are beginning to open up face-to-face classes and return-to-work (RTO) setups again; others are adopting hybrid work and learning models, too. But with COVID-19 still a public health threat, there are preparations you need to make ahead of taking on these new-normal scenarios.

#1: Review the protocols at your school or workplace

If your campus or office is in another city, start by learning about the local guidelines in relation to COVID safety. Familiarize yourself with the dos and don’ts. Some areas may be on different lockdown levels, for example, or have specific requirements before entry. Be sure to review your school’s or company’s regulations as well to get acquainted with any new processes and avoid issues with your administrators.

#2: Plan your daily commute

Public transport might not be the same as you remember it—especially since some routes and modes of transport have changed considerably since the pandemic. If you need to beat the morning rush and get to work or school on time, you’ll need to do some research. Adjust your schedule accordingly, too.

#3: Ensure you have your own supply of the essentials

Maintaining safety practices is the best way to minimize the chances of catching COVID-19. This includes making sure you have your supplies covered. Avoid sharing any personal items that can aid in spreading the virus (such as eating utensils, pens, and cash). Instead, bring with you your own set of the new normal essentials.

#4: Download the contact tracing apps applicable to your school or workplace 

Today, contract tracing apps are still being used in certain areas in order to enter buildings and/or access services. (On this front: be sure to stay connected with GoWiFi and have them on your phone whenever you need them.) These systems help schools and companies log and track any COVID-19 exposure within the premises, which aids in ensuring a COVID-free environment for all.

#5: Update your vaccination record

In addition to using contact tracing apps, establishments may also still ask for your vaccination status before you can enter their premises. Keep your vax card with you at all times. Just as important? Ensure that all your information is updated. To secure your details, simply download VaxCertPH on your phone for a digital version of your vax certificate.

#6: Top up your e-wallet

Amid the pandemic, going cashless has proven most useful, where the intent is to keep contact to a minimum and cross-contamination at bay. You can download apps like GCash to make seamless transactions wherever you go. Here, you can also score great deals in A+ Rewards, exclusive to GCash.

#7: Keep your mask on

Even with restrictions at their lowest, the country still mandates masks for everyone’s protection. Never remove your mask in public unless eating or drinking in a designated area. Bring a few spare masks just in case, too.

#8: Disinfect your desk

Regularly sanitize personal surface areas that you frequently touch. Doing so will not only eliminate germs that can make you ill, but this also helps set up a cleaner workspace for you and the people around you.

#9: Establish boundaries

Being away from your friends and colleagues can make it hard to remember to practice social distancing. But for everyone’s safety, it’s important to voice your concerns regarding boundaries. Just like before, keep your physical distance at all times.

#10: Prioritize good air circulation

Good ventilation not only keeps viruses from accumulating indoors. This also keeps your lung health in check. So whenever possible, opt for open windows in the classroom or office, or take breaks to get fresh air.

#11: Ease into the adjustment 

Understandably, most people will worry about the commute, crowds, and the risks of getting infected. In case you can't handle a fully physical setup yet, ask your school or employer if they can allow you to keep doing things online.

#12: Know and exercise your rights

Some employers may be open to offering a hybrid setup if you aren’t entirely comfortable with the work-from-office option. You can open this dialogue up by raising your concerns about health and safety risks; see how you can arrange your setup with your leads from there.

With COVID cases now steadily declining, many different sectors are preparing to go back to a pre-pandemic state. But this doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods. Before anything else, you need to consider what you need to do to keep yourself and your loved ones protected from the virus.

When it comes to affordable medical insurance, live worry-free with GoHealth Max. Find a plan that suits you and your family’s needs, and get in touch to learn more.

Art Matthew Fetalver

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