School re-openings

When schools re-open in September, local decision-making means being aware of not just what to do but understanding why. The following is a list of considerations, all teachers need to know:

  • Covid-19 has three transmission routes: close-range droplet, surface contacts and aerosol.
  • Increased risk occurs when people spend longer periods of time together such as in a classroom, as opposed to passing in a corridor.
  • Risk assessments need to consider all potential routes of transmission.
  • Climate changes can affect risk, cold/wet weather may limit outdoor play/breaktime and reduce ventilation in enclosed indoor spaces.
  • Adults play a greater role in transmission; therefore, risk assessments need to include any areas/activities where adult staff interact.
  • Contact between children and staff from different schools or places where they may share the same facilities needs to be considered and reduced.
  • School activities should be risk assessed to identify potentially increased transmission routes such as indoor sports, crowded changing rooms, science lab work involving close contact, and music/drama/dance performances.
  • SAGE advises to use the term “segmentation” and not “bubble” when referring to school groups. (segmentation involves a group still adhering to social distancing and safety measures, whereas bubbles refer to usually 2 households of limited numbers, who may merge).
  • Closures or limits set by schools need to consider the impact outside of school, i.e will it encourage/cause congregation or activities of school children in the community instead.