Opinion: A color coded system for government and school openings and masking statuses would be nice

I thought I would put this out there and see what others thought of the following idea: A color coded system for building and school statuses regarding openings and mask requirements during the COVID pandemic.

Many systems have color codings and I thought…why not one more. One that could change as needed and could reflect the ongoing changes to access to government buildings and status of schools in regards to masking requirements.

What I like about this idea is that it could change based on changing metrics or information. If we had a set of metrics that are defined to the public…this could allow the status of buildings or schools to adapt as the numbers change. This does not have to be a thing that changes daily…but maybe weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. It could provide some options for changing statuses as the environment changes.

For Government: A listing on the front page of the government website with the status of government buildings as a whole or statuses of individual entities/buildings within government. Signs on the doors of buildings with the color coding and status (see above).

Fo Schools: Many schools have a COVID dashboard with data for the public. This status could be listed on that page (and probably the front page of the school system website or the Status page of the school website) and sent to parents and students as the environment changes. Signs also on each school door for students, staff and visitors so that they know the current status (see below).

I am aware the HCPSS already has “COVID-19 Response Color Bands” for COVID: https://www.hcpss.org/f/health/coronavirus/metrics-hcpss-poster.pdf. Maybe that is the metic set they use or some version of it to tie to masking status. I am not sure if all school systems have similar type metric data on their websites so I am mentioning the one I know about here in this post.

I was thinking about announcements something like: “The Howard County Public School System is Code Yellow for Masking for the month of September 2021” or “Carroll County Public Schools is Code Green for Masking for the month of September 2021”.

These status could be reviewed near the end of that time frame (again…could be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly) based on the defined metrics and could change as the numbers change.

This was just something running through my mind to provide options as things change in regards to the data and metrics of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe something like this does not lock us down into one status or another and provides for more flexibility to change.

So my question to the readers is…what do you think of a system like this that can change as data metrics change? Would this make things confusing or would it be helpful to provide options?

Let me know what you think in the comments (here on the blog or on social media).

Scott E


  1. Great idea, as long as there is agreement on keeping it up to date. A simple message that people can understand and remember is definitely the best way to communicate


  2. The bold color coding is a great idea – – not just for government entities but even for general business concerns. How many times have I approached a retail or business establishment looking for their sign about mask requirements that has been carelessly taped to an automatic door on plain white bond paper.


  3. I think it’s a good idea and should be used in all public buildings. Color can be recognized and understood quickly and from a greater distance than plain text. Unfortunately I think we will need
    this information for a while yet.


  4. Yes, this is a great idea. Like Linda mentions above, the haphazardly made sign on white paper and taped to a door is not helping anybody!


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