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Health and safety advice for schools

National guidance for teachers, school leaders, carers, parents and students can be found on the government's website

Our approach to the management of COVID-19 risk is shown on this document:

 


Schools COVID-19 Guidance from the Staffordshire Health, Safety and Wellbeing Service

May 2021 v8

Please note: This replaces the previous document 'Preparing your school for full opening' from March 2021 v7.

Introduction

The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Service can support schools with health, safety and wellbeing advice during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Government advice is being updated often and therefore all government guidance is not reproduced here but is available on GOV.UK.

Of note are the following:

Schools Covid 19 Operational Guidance and, Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Staffordshire schools should also note the communications from Assistant Director for Education Strategy and Improvement and the SCC Transport team.

This document is version 8 in a series of guidance support document issued since March 2020, this version now includes only specific guidance from the HSW Service which is additional to Government guidance or clarifies the HSW approach.

NOTE
Some schools will have remained open during the whole of 2020/21 and others will have been closed or only partially open, therefore the implementation of this guidance may vary depending upon the status of each school.

1.   Preparing premises and school sites 

1.1 Premises Checks/Thorough Examination

Numerous premises checks are required in schools throughout the year. Premises checks include:

  • statutory checks and thorough examinations such as water system safety testing, emergency lighting and lifting equipment checks.
  • management checks such as inspections of work equipment (ladders), school curriculum equipment (PE equipment) and premises features (fire doors/playgrounds)

Schools supported by the HSW Service can see the Covid-19 Essential Premises Checklist or review the Audit and Evaluation Checklist.

For all schools, where inspection and checks have continued during national lockdowns or during any partial closures, schools are advised to continue with all premises checks.

Schools who have NOT continued with statutory checks may have further work to do in re-commissioning plant and equipment OR may have to discontinue use of items/equipment until they can be inspected and checked.  Schools are advised to refer to their property services provider for information on what might be required if statutory checks are not taking place.

1.2 Outdoor spaces

When considering outside spaces for curriculum activities or for exercise and breaks, grounds and locations must be suitably checked for defects and any hazards removed. Schools will already have visual checks of outside areas in place alongside more regular recorded checks, these should continue, and any other areas brought into use added to the checking procedures.  
Consideration should be given within the setting risk assessment on management of these activities (use by groups), and the cleaning of contact points. Some shared equipment may need to be taken out of use if this cannot take place.
Outdoor equipment / toys should not be used unless the school is able to ensure that it is appropriately cleaned between groups of children/young people (bubbles), and that multiple groups do not use it simultaneously.  
Fixed outdoor play equipment must also be inspected and checked in line with the guidance on the SLN .

1.3 Ventilation arrangements

Where possible, all spaces should be well ventilated using natural ventilation (opening windows) or ventilation units. Prop doors open, where safe to do so (bearing in mind fire safety and safeguarding) to limit use of door handles and aid ventilation.  Please also see an additional section on Fire Doors in Section 7. below. Where windows cannot open due to mechanical failure seek support for your property service to arrange repairs. Where mechanical ventilation is in place this should be checked to ensure it is in working order.

The Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance provides ore information on this, and also refers to Health and Safety Executive guidance on air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus outbreak and CIBSE coronavirus (COVID-19) advice provides more information.

1.4 Transition events and end of year school activities

Government advice on Transitional, taster and open days states that schools complete thorough risk assessments before running transitional, taster and open days to ensure that they are run in line with the system of controls, the government guidance and the roadmap out of lockdown.

HSW Service advice for Covid Secure Transition and other events
Schools should continue to take a cautious approach and where possible carry out transition and other activities remotely.

Risk Assessment

If an event is planned after considering this guidance, then a risk assessment must be created for the event planned in addition to the school’s existing Covid 19 Risk assessment.

Current guidance for any activity

The Public Health England advice on a system of controls remain in place.

Schools should follow the government system of controls as outlined in the school’s operational guidance these can also be viewed in section 6. below - System of controls and protective measures in Government guidance

In addition to the above

Where schools arrange events and are mixing pupils and adults from other settings the government advice for managing convid-19 risks in the general community must also be followed e.g. social distancing measures/wearing of face coverings/minimising contacts. These can be found in (COVID-19) Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do

Examples of measures that can be taken as an alternative to face to face transition events

Example with options on suitability for different key stages are given below:

  • A power point presentation that shares vital information with parents around what the child can expect on the first day, week etc.
  • Photos on the school website of key areas within the school and / or a guided online video tour around the school.
  • Transition booklet or pack that covers key information for pupils.
  • Key stage/form tutor email address so prospective parents can ask specific questions
  • Adding Frequently Asked Questions to the website.
  • Video profiles of staff so parents/pupils can ‘meet them’ virtually.
  • Aim to try to ensure friendship groups are maintained in the new setting.
  • Small activities involving curriculum topics, already completed in primary, could be sent home to pupils to complete during the summer.  This could then be returned as part of the induction back into the school.  This would help the pupils feel reassured through continuity of topics.
  • Online information with a ‘pen portrait’ of staff introducing themselves, the area they teach and telling the new pupils something about themselves.
  • For colleges - A guided online open day tour around the college.
  • Curriculum specialists could use video presentations to outline course content for students to view in advance.
  • Provide reading lists, relevant bite size exercises to complete on the subjects to be taken or relevant to their chosen course(s).
  • Videos could be created from past pupils on what to expect at the college both socially and academically.
  • Enrolment to college done virtually or Covid secure enrolment including set appointment times and allowing for socially distanced questions with teaching staff.

Be prepared to adapt your processes as the situation changes and new government guidance is released. 

If progressing with face to face transition, consider:

  • Face to face meetings – only for individual pupils/students who would struggle without transition visit. Aim to keep visit(s) to time when classroom not otherwise in use.
  • Create small group visits that would enable social distancing to be maintained.
  • If visits to the setting are undertaken look at staged approach, keeping pupils transitioning in their bubbles/cohorts from feeder schools.
  • If visiting setting from multiple schools, consider set up new tutor bubbles and prevent/limit any mixing.
  • Consider of use of face coverings during events.
  • The use of Lateral Flow Testing may be considered in some situations.

SEND Settings/Students with EHCP or those with specific individual support requirements

Whilst some pupils may cope with one physical visit and several virtual visits other pupils will require more face to face arrangements.  These will need to be planned for with effective risk controls.   Settings should consider individual cases and put in place individual control measures which balance risks. 

Other gatherings in school

End of School Year Activities

Schools are advised to follow the same measures as were in place in 2020, when events did not take place.

Schools must consider:

  • How they will manage any last day formal activities such as giving out yearbooks/school bibles/issue of leavers hoodies AND those activities which may be impromptu such as shirt signing. 
  • Arrangements for specific times to empty lockers, collect items or speak to a form tutor / staff member are options. 

If a school is planning an end of term event, they should be kept to existing bubble/cohort groups or staggered to reduce the number of pupils being brought together. 
Schools must consider capacity for events ensuring this is balanced against risks and venue controls such as ventilation, social distancing or maintaining bubbles/cohorts. 
For events with pupils over 11 years schools could consider timing of Lateral Flow Testing to assist as an effective control measure.

Award and Reward Ceremonies

End of Year Reward ceremonies involving the entire school community must be managed in line with government guidance and the principle of controls referred to above.  Alternatives to consider are:

  • Events in bubble/cohort groups.
  • PowerPoint presentation of pupils’ achievements
  • Individual certificates or a small gift which this could be streamed virtually around the other classes or school.
  • Gift vouchers/cards for older pupils to celebrate academic success posted to home.

Visitors to such events should be avoided – in line with government guidance – if visitors are permitted, consider:

  • Outside events.
  • Additional ventilation if inside.
  • Keeping social distancing between household bubbles.
  • The use of face coverings where recommended.

For events with pupils over 11 years, schools could consider timing of Lateral Flow Testing to assist as an effective control measure.

If permitted encourage all visitors to complete Lateral Flow Test before attendance at event.

For complying with test and trace requirements school must ensure that accurate attendance records are maintained.

End of Year Performances

The current Government Guidance for singing and performing is included in the following in the section on Music, dance and drama on the Schools Operational Guidance: Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance.

These control measures will include:

  • an audience is not permitted and therefore consider live streaming, pre-recording the event
    • playing instruments and singing in groups should take place outdoors wherever possible
    • if indoors, consider limiting the numbers in relation to the space, for example, larger rooms - rooms with high ceilings are expected to enable dilution of aerosol transmission and limit the numbers to account for ventilation of the space.
    • if taking place indoors try to sit performers back to back or side by side
    • use microphones where possible or encourage singing quietly
    • cleaning equipment before and after or before swopping in between individuals
    • create drop off and clean areas

Sports Days

Schools must adhere to the current guidance around bubbles and social distancing.  Schools should consider holding virtual sports days or adapting the events, so they are spread over a greater period.  The government guidance for sport and PE should be followed and school risk assessments must be in place. This includes:

  • Masks worn in changing rooms where social distancing cannot be maintained or come to the event already dressed in PE clothing
  • Try to avoid sharing equipment
  • Sanitise hands before and after
  • Sanitise equipment before and after use
  • Bibs should not be shared between individuals and washed before next use

If schools consider having visitors limit attendance and space out visitors in household bubbles and maintain effective social distancing.

When should an event be postponed or cancelled?

Schools must review the changing situation of community transmission and consider postponement if any of the following situations arise:

  • Host setting or other settings involved experience an outbreak of Covid-19
  • There is an increased community prevalence of Covid -19
  • A variant of concern is impacting local community and community surge testing is being completed
  • Other relevant risks being identified and /or
  • Advice from Local Outbreak Control/PHE.
  1. 2.   Attending school

2.1. Who may NOT attend school?
Any member of staff, pupil or member of the school community who is unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature or a loss of or change in normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia) should not attend school.
Additionally, anyone who has someone in their household who has coronavirus symptoms must not attend.

2.2. Staff or pupils who are shielding?

Schools should follow Government advice on shielding for both staff and pupils.

An individual risk assessment is advised for any member of staff or pupil group who is clinically extremely vulnerable, is in a vulnerable group or has other health or mobility issues which may need an individual risk assessment.  This should include members of staff who are pregnant, or from a BAME community se 2.2.2 and 2.2.3 below.

Please refer to the Guidance on completion of individual risk assessments.

2.2.2. Pregnant staff

Staff who are pregnant should still follow the government guidance Coronavirus guide for pregnant employees.  Please also refer to the Guidance on completion of individual risk assessments.

2.2.3. Staff who may otherwise be at increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19)

Some people with particular characteristics may be at comparatively increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19). These groups may include:

  • older males;
  • have a high body mass index (BMI);
  • have health conditions such as diabetes;
  • are from some Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME*) backgrounds - staff member or family / household members.

Please also refer to Guidance on completion of individual risk assessments.

3.   Wellbeing

3.1 Staff health and wellbeing
Governing bodies/boards and senior leaders must take positive steps to manage the wellbeing of all staff, including the headteacher and senior leaders themselves. Any working practices including flexible working practices/timetabling/start and finish timings must promote good work-life balance and support the wellbeing of teachers and leaders.
Workload should be carefully managed and schools should assess whether staff who are working from home due to health conditions or have individual risk assessments are able to support colleagues or manage remote education, while others focus on face-to-face provision.

For schools supported by the HSW Service, information on mental health and staff wellbeing is available on the MindKind pages of the SLN and headteachers/school leaders are encouraged to provide some time for staff to see this information if they so wish.

A personal Wellbeing Action Plan on the SLN MindKind website is designed for colleagues to use to help them manage their own wellbeing. It's a personalised, practical tool to help identify what keeps you well, what causes you to become unwell and how to look after your mental health, both at work and at home.

School leaders are asked to review their Team Stress Risk Assessment with staff groups and any individual stress risk assessments regularly.

The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Service can also offer Mental Health Awareness training –please contact us for further information shss@staffordshire.gov.uk   

3.2   Pupil Wellbeing

The government has provided a wide range of information and links on pupil wellbeing in their guidance

Information from the SCC Education Psychology Service for schools is on the COVID-19 section of the Staffordshire Connects Local Offer

Where a child or young person has an individual risk assessment, has special education needs, disability or has an EHC plan, an assessment of their wellbeing must form part of that plan. 

The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Service can also offer Mental Health Awareness training – for staff working with children and young people - please contact us for further information shss@staffordshire.gov.uk  

4.   Cases of Covid-19

4.1 Testing

Testing for coronavirus is now available for those with symptoms and non-symptomatic testing is also available.

4.1 Lateral Flow testing
Lateral flow testing is now taking place in schools for staff and (secondary age) pupils either in the school setting or via home testing. Information on lateral flow testing, including the county council management arrangements and template risk and COSHH assessments are available on the SLN and Staffordshire Web

4.2  Local Outbreaks – cases in school

The Local Outbreak Control plans can be found on the SCC website and on the SLN.

Please report Covid-19 cases in your school by emailing:  C19LocalOutbreakControl@staffordshire.gov.uk     

The Education and Early Years LA Outbreak control team can be contacted on: C19LOC.education@staffordshire.gov.uk

4.3 Temperature checking
Temperature checking does not form part of the government guidance and only covers one of the symptoms.  If you choose to undertake temperature checks, ensure you have a clear policy on this, and it is done with the consent of parents.  Good hygiene arrangements must be in place.  The thermometer used must be of the non-contact type and must be recalibrated in line with manufacturer’s instructions.

5.   Risk Assessments

5.1 General school and premises risk assessment

All schools have created a Covid-19 risk assessment.
The risk assessment must be adapted to ensure it is suitable and sufficient for the school and include the areas of risk specific to the school’s premises/activities.  Risk assessments should be developed with involvement from staff groups and the identified control measures must be communicated to staff, pupils and parents as appropriate.
These risk assessments must be regularly reviewed and whenever changes are made to the school’s Covid-19 arrangements.  

The example template Risk Assessment is on the SLN -  Covid-19 Risk Assessment
OR visit the Staffordshire website to view the example template Risk Assessment.

Please also review any other existing school risk assessments where control measures may need to be changed or updated because of the risks of COVID-19. An example may be playground risk assessments or Fire Risk Assessment.

5.2 Individual Risk Assessments (see also section 2 above)
An individual risk assessment will be required for any member of the school community for whom Covid-19 may present a higher risk.  This may include staff, pupils, or governors or member of senior leadership team (or wider leadership teams if there is a MAT) and anyone in section 2. above.
Review of any current risk assessments for staff or individual pupils must take place regularly and whenever changes to the school COVID-19 arrangements take place. 

Guidance on carrying out an Individual Risk Assessment for COVID-19 is available on the SLN.

OR on the Staffordshire Website.

5.2.1 Children and young people with SEND and education, health and care (EHC) plans
The needs and views of the young person, their parents/carers, social workers (if appropriate) and school staff and other professionals may all need to be involved in reviewing the risk assessment (and EHC plan) for a the child or young person in order to decide the most appropriate support for them.  Please see the Additional operational guidance for special schools, special post-16 institutions and alternative provision.

5.3 Risk Assessment - communication and consultation
Any communications regarding risk assessment and procedures to be followed around Covid -19 must be communicated to all staff, pupils, parents, and other stakeholders as appropriate. This may mean signage is required in other languages, using pictures/symbols and other age, language or disability appropriate communications. 

Schools should publish a copy of their Covid-19 Risk Assessment on the school website.

There is no requirement to provide risk assessments to parents for specific activities that take place in school, but a summary document regarding what actions the school have taken around risk assessments may be appropriate in this situation.

Headteacher and school leaders are also reminded that where trade union representation is in place in school, school leaders should discuss the plans for reopening with trades union representatives and that they may wish to carry out a health and safety inspection prior to the school being reopened.

6.   System of controls and protective measures in Government guidance

A system of controls is included in government guidance that all schools are asked to include in their risk control measures.   
They are grouped into “prevention” actions and “response to any infection”.  

 

System of controls

 

Prevention. You must:

1

Minimise contact with individuals who are required to self-isolate by ensuring they do not attend the school.

2

Ensure face coverings are used in recommended circumstances.

3

Ensure everyone is advised to clean their hands thoroughly and more often than usual.

4

Ensure good respiratory hygiene for everyone by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.

5

Maintain enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents.

6

Consider how to minimise contact across the site and maintain social distancing wherever possible.

7

Keep occupied spaces well ventilated.

 

In specific circumstances:

8

Ensure individuals wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) where necessary.

9

Promote and engage in asymptomatic testing, where available

 

Response to any infection

. You must always:

10

Promote and engage with the NHS Test and Trace process.

11

Manage and report confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst the school community.

12

Contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice.

Action 1 Prevention. You must:
Minimise contact with individuals who are required to self-isolate by ensuring they do not attend the school.

Schools must ensure that all members of the school community are aware that no-one should attend the school if they feel unwell with Covid-19 symptoms.  If staff or pupils report any symptoms of coronavirus in themselves or other family members, or they have tested positive for the virus they must not attend.  See 2.1 above.

See also Action 11 below – on actions to take if someone becomes unwell at an educational or childcare setting.

Action 2 Prevention. You must:
Ensure face coverings are used in recommended circumstances.

See Govt Guidance Face coverings in Education
See HSW Service advice on face coverings on the SLN and SCC webpage

Wearing face coverings
Where government guidance requires face coverings to be worn in school, by pupils, staff and visitors.Face coverings must be worn correctly, and clear instructions should be provided to staff and pupils on how to put on, remove, store and dispose of face coverings to avoid inadvertently increasing the risks of transmission.

In all schools the government continues to recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of classrooms where social distancing is not possible (for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas).
The reintroduction of face coverings for pupils, students or staff may be advised for a temporary period in response to particular localised outbreaks, including variants of concern. 
Children and young people aged 11 and over must still wear a face covering on public transport and when travelling on dedicated transport to secondary school or college. This does not apply to children and young people who are exempt from wearing face coverings.

Procedures
Schools must have an appropriate procedure for the use of face coverings which includes the following:

  • When face coverings must be worn and where they can be removed.
  • How to remove and dispose of soiled disposable face coverings and/or masks.
  • Reminding all users not to touch the front of the face covering when using or removing it.
  • Advice on cleaning of hands before and after touching face coverings.
  • Safe storage of face coverings when removed, advising in individual, sealable plastic bag between use.
  • How to dispose of temporary face coverings.
  • Provision of bins to dispose of face coverings after use. (disposal is in normal waste, ‘black bag’ waste bin not recycling bin).

You should communicate this process clearly to pupils, staff and visitors and allow for adjustments to be made for pupils with support needs. 

World Health Organisation advice on the wearing of fabric face masks is available in both video and poster formats. Schools may wish to use these as advice to both staff and pupils to ensure masks are worn and removed safely. This can be found on the SCC Webpage and on the SLN.

Access to face coverings
Where any pupil or staff member does not have a face covering, where personal circumstances mean they cannot obtain a face covering, or, where they are unable to use their face covering due it becoming soiled or unsafe, education settings should take steps to have a small contingency supply available to meet such needs. There is an Emergency PPE supply procedure if settings are experiencing a PPE supply issue.  
Public Health England has made available a resource on how to make a simple face covering.

Face coverings on Transport
The government has given advice to the public on the wearing of face coverings on public transport and this also applies on school transport for pupils (over the age of 11).  For dedicated school transport, in Staffordshire, parents are asked to provide children with face coverings to be worn during the journey. (Seek advice from the County Council Transport Team if necessary).

Exemptions
Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. The same exemptions will apply in education and childcare settings.
Those who have an age, health or disability reason to not wear a face covering should not be routinely asked to provide any written evidence of this.
No-one should be excluded from education on the grounds that they are not wearing a face covering.

Face shields
Face visors or shields should not be worn as an alternative to face coverings. They may protect against droplet spread in specific circumstances but are unlikely to be effective in reducing aerosol transmission when used without an additional face covering. They should only be used as PPE eye protection after carrying out a risk assessment for the specific situation and should always be cleaned appropriately.
See the HSW Service information leaflet on Face shields, face masks and face coverings explained.

Action 3 Prevention. You must:
Ensure everyone is advised to clean their hands thoroughly and more often than usual.

Hand washing is one of the key risk control measures for Covid -19 so the school must put in place adequate hand washing facilities and hand washing routines following the available guidance.  
Hand Sanitiser. Note that hand sanitiser should not be used on dirty hands and the exclusive use of hand sanitiser should be discouraged - use soap and water after 5 uses of sanitiser.It is recommended that hand sanitiser stations are available at all main entrance and exit points. A template COSHH Assessment for hand sanitiser is available – see template COSHH Assessments below. 

Action 4 Prevention. You must:
Ensure good respiratory hygiene for everyone by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.

Adopt the “catch it kill it bin it” approach as part of everyday routines in school. Younger pupils or those with complex needs may need to be supported with this – include this in individual risk assessments if necessary.

Ensure there are sufficient bins, ideally with pedal operation around the school including staff areas such as staff rooms and staff toilets. Effectively dispose of rubbish.

Action 5 Prevention. You must:
Maintain enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents.

As part of the effective infection protection and control measures an enhanced cleaning schedule using standard cleaning products should be implemented.   See also COSHH section below.

Frequently touched surfaces

As part of this enhanced cleaning schedule, schools must regularly clean frequently touched surfaces and rooms and shared areas used by different groups.  

Frequently touched surfaces may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • door handles/touch plates
  • sinks and toilets
  • light switches
  • handrails and bannisters
  • tabletops/chairs
  • electronic devices (such as phones, laptops and a computers)

When cleaning, use the usual products, like detergents and bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on frequently touched surfaces.

Resources for teaching and learning

Where different groups (bubbles) are using the same resources or equipment these can be shared within the group, but enhanced cleaning of these must take place between use by groups/bubbles.  This includes cleaning of outside play equipment, toys, books, games and classroom resources.  
Sports, Art and Science equipment must be cleaned frequently and meticulously between groups and bubbles.
Where the number of resources in use can accommodate this, using them in rotation, and isolating them after use for 48 hours (or 72 hours for plastics) could be considered.
Government guidance does allow resources to be taken home, so handwashing and effective cleaning must be emphasised where this takes place.

Dining halls/halls/gyms and other shared space

Where groups are sharing dining halls/halls/gyms etc in rotation, there should be time allowed for cleaning surfaces in between groups.  Social distancing should still be maintained where possible between pupils and staff and between older pupils where possible.

Office workstations/laptops/computer use
Consider any arrangements you might need to make about the use of workstations/laptops and computers including hand hygiene considerations if equipment is shared. Enhanced cleaning must be in place in all areas where space and equipment are shared.

Classrooms

Classroom and other learning spaces should be subject to enhanced cleaning, especially if used for differing groups, throughout the day.  Again, if possible social distancing should be in place between staff and pupils, and between pupils if there is the ability to do so.

Toilets

The use of toilets by children and staff will need to be considered to maintain social distancing and hand hygiene.  Different pupil groups may share toilets, but these must be cleaned regularly throughout the day and hand hygiene after using the toilet must be encouraged.  Consider the use of paper towels and suitable dispensers and foot operated bins, non-touch soap dispensers.
Consider if toilets can be provided with seats with lids that can be closed before flushing? If so, provide signage in cubicles requesting lids be closed before flushing.

Staff only areas

The safe use of meeting rooms/staff rooms/toilets must be considered and communicated to staff. Agree a maximum number of occupants for each room and provide signage and where possible use tape or remove seating that should not be used to ensure distancing.

Additionally:

  • Provide equipment for cleaning in between meetings and use.
  • Provide hand sanitiser in meeting/staff rooms along with cleaning materials.
  • Hold meetings outdoors or in well-ventilated rooms.
  • Encourage staff to bring their own food which does not require any preparation or heating in communal facilities, if you provide communal facilities such as a microwave, ensure effective cleaning after each use.
  • Remove all communal tea towels, shared equipment and cutlery and provide paper towels.
  • Avoid the sharing of food, utensils and equipment.

Personal belongings

Where possible staff and pupils should bring their own belongings to school each day (pens / learning resources) and take them home at night-time, lockers can be used during the day for security. Handwashing after handling bags and belongings should be encouraged and sharing of equipment actively discouraged.

Contract cleaning and catering

Schools must review the cleaning regimes required with any contract cleaning or catering companies and if they are directly employed direct their work to meet increased cleaning requirements AND review and risk assessment or COSHH assessments as required. (see COSHH section below). As with all contractors we recommend a Hazard exchange process should be followed, especially where new staff, or new cleaning equipment is being introduced.

Further information on cleaning methods

Some cleaning companies have commenced cleaning using fogging or misting methods. These cleaning methods will not remove the need for enhanced cleaning in the setting.   These methods should be considered carefully to ensure they are being carried out by competent operators and that the cleaning approach and chemicals used are appropriate for the area being cleaned, all risk and COSHH assessments must be in place.  Please also refer to the HSE guidance on Using fog, mist and other systems during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Cleaning following a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Schools should follow the cleaning regimes and guidance in the government COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance.

Further cleaning guidance and information

Information on infection control and cleaning and disinfection can be found on the SLN for those settings supported by the HSW Service.
Infection control information including a film for staff to watch is also available on the SLN:   

Action 6 Prevention. You must:
Consider how to minimise contact across the site and maintain social distancing wherever possible

See the government Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance  and the curriculum sections below.

See also 1.4 Transition events and end of year school activities section above.

The overarching principle is to reduce the number of contacts between children and staff. This will depend upon pupils’ ability to distance, the school layout and the feasibility of keeping groups separate whilst delivering a broad curriculum.
Keeping consistent groups (bubbles) and minimising other contacts is essential as schools must also consider that in the event of someone in the group becoming ill and testing positive for Covid-19 the whole group may have to isolate as part of the test and trace process.

Staff - minimising contacts between others

The number of class groups/bubbles a member of staff supports will influence the number of people who should isolate if an outbreak occurs. However, in many schools, staff moving between pupil groups will be a requirement to be able to deliver the broad curriculum required and so government guidance on social distancing must be followed where this can be achieved. 

  • Schools should plan the shared spaces used by staff to support social distancing and the use of staff rooms must be minimised/rearranged. (Staff must have breaks of reasonable length throughout the day).  
  • Staff must maintain distance from colleagues in meetings and other collaborative situations.
  • Social distancing should be maintained at breaktimes.
  • Staff car sharing should be discouraged if possible.

Peripatetic teachers and supply staff, specialists and therapists

These types of staff can move between schools and must ensure they minimise contact and maintain distance from other staff in school. Support for pupils with SEND from clinicians and other specialists should continue as normal.

Other staff groups / staff with more than one role

Consideration should be given to having different arrangements for staff groups i.e. office-based staff and teaching staff and avoid interaction if possible.  Alongside advice to schools the more general Govt guidance Working safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres provides more information on this. 

Consider any arrangements you might need to make about the use of workstations/laptops and computers both from the need for social distancing for staff and pupils (office areas/ICT rooms). See Cleaning above.

Where staff carry out  more than one role in school leaders must have clear systems of controls in place across all the risk control measures and be aware that staff working across groups may affect the risk of transmission and could impact on any isolation requirements if there is an outbreak in school. 

Restrictive physical intervention/behaviour management

Transmission may occur during actions taken with behaviour management. Where possible, actions taken for behaviour management will not involve touching a pupil. It is advised that behaviour management plans be reviewed prior to pupils returning to school.   Hand washing and respiratory hygiene as well as enhanced cleaning will also support risk controls. 

Link to SLN page on Restrictive Physical Intervention.  

Non-school staff/contractors

Headteachers and school leaders must discuss with their cleaning and catering contractors their arrangements for managing the risk of Covid-19.  Cleaning contractors will have enhanced cleaning regimes, and this may be alongside other cleaning being done by school staff – they must be able to maintain distance between themselves and pupils and other adults in the school setting. 

Visitors, parental contact and non-essential visits to site

Schools should consider carefully which visitors may access their site and if these visits are necessary.
As far as possible contact with visitors, parental meetings and attendance by colleagues not school based should be undertaken remotely, by phone or video call.  
A record must be kept of all visitors (including professional visitors/support services personnel/contractors) to school sites as this may be required for test and trace. These should be retained for 21 days.  

Staggered arrival / departure

Consideration should be given to staggering times when parents arrive and depart the school site from drop off and pick up for younger pupils, and schools must clearly communicate these arrangements.

School Reception

Consider the risk of operating a school reception area and avoid this where possible by using remote communication and signage, use of telephone meetings or where someone must access the site communication on site by radio or phone.  Consider reception sneeze screens if they are appropriate.
Where visitors/parents must enter the school premises arrangements must be in place to manage social distancing and good hygiene.  Multi-use signing in sheets/pens should not be used, waiting areas must be managed and clear directions and signage must be in place.

Shared workplaces

Where schools are sharing a site or building with another organisation – such as a library/nursery, premises managers will need to agree safe working arrangements for  minimising contact and maintaining social distancing which minimise risks for school staff and pupils and others across the site.  Other employers working on the site should share their COVID-19 workplace risk assessment with your setting so that you can co-operate and co-ordinate arrangements.

Action 7 Prevention. You must:
Keep occupied spaces well ventilated.

See the government Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance See Ventilation in 1. above.

Action 8 In specific circumstances
Ensure individuals wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) where necessary.

See Government guidance on Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
See Action 2 – Face coverings above.

Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Guidance states that PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases in school:

  • where an individual child, young person or other learner becomes ill with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms and only then if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained.
  • where a child, young person or learner already has routine intimate care needs that involves the use of PPE, in which case the same PPE should continue to be used as defined by their care plan.

Any PPE provided must have a CE mark on the item or the packaging and should be purchased in line with risk assessment needs.  Home-made face coverings are not a safe alternative to the provision of Personal Protective Equipment.

PPE to be worn when caring for someone (pupil or staff) with symptoms of COVID-19         If direct contact (within 2 metres) is required until they return home (for example if a pupil becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while in school and needs direct personal care) then the following PPE is recommended:

  • a fluid-resistant surgical face mask
  • disposable gloves
  • disposable apron

If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, for example from coughing, spitting, or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn.
Staff required to wear PPE for specific tasks/activities must be fully aware of the risk assessment for that task and appropriate way PPE must be worn, including the correct way to put on and remove.

How to wear PPE/how to remove PPE

The government have not created specific guidance on the appropriate way to put on and remove PPE for schools, however, the guidance and films for care settings provide appropriate information for schools to use when using PPE for care needs. See personal protective equipment for non-aerosol generating procedures. A guidance poster is available from this link which shows how to correctly put on and remove PPE this should be printed off and displayed in school in areas where PPE is being used/worn. Headteachers and senior leaders must ensure that they monitor the putting on/removing and wearing of PPE as required by local monitoring and observations.

Face masks must:

  • cover both nose and mouth
  • not be allowed to dangle around the neck
  • not be touched once put on, except when carefully removed before disposal
  • be changed when they become moist or damaged
  • be worn once and then discarded - hands must be cleaned after disposal

Some PPE such as eye protection can be reusable with suitable cleaning and disinfection -   Please refer to the relevant guidance.

Further guidance on PPE, what and how to wear it is on the SLN  or the SCC webpages.

Supply / provision of PPE

Headteachers and senior leaders must ensure that where local risk assessments identify the need for PPE, that there is adequate provision. 

A procedure for the emergency distribution of PPE to Staffordshire schools and education settings is in place.  You can also see this information on the Staffordshire web.

This process may be used where settings have exhausted their own supply chain or unable to source from these or from national supply route and the Emergency PPE Request Form must be used for this purpose. (Information about PPE suppliers has been sent to schools by email and can also be found on this page).

Action 9 In specific circumstances
Promote and engage in asymptomatic testing, where available
Schools should:

Action 10
Response to any infection. You must always
Promote and engage with the NHS Test and Trace process.

Anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a test following government guidelines. 

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests contingency supply

Separate to the asymptomatic testing regime, all schools were sent an initial supply of 10 PCR test kits before the start of the autumn term in 2020. Schools can replenish these kits when they run out by making an order through the online portal. 
These PCR test kits are provided to be used in the exceptional circumstance that an individual becomes symptomatic and you believe they may have barriers to accessing testing elsewhere.
Schools may decide how to prioritise the distribution of test kits. These kits can be given directly to staff or parents collecting a pupil who has developed symptoms at school.

Action 11
Response to any infection. You must always

Manage and report confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst the school community.

Schools should followthe guidance in the Government Operational guidance and report to the SCC Local Outbreak Control team:

Key Contacts – Staffordshire

If you need to report a positive case or suspected case of COVID-19 in your setting please use the online form OR email using the following address:
C19LocalOutbreakControl@staffordshire.gov.uk

To speak to the Education and Early Years - Local Outbreak Response Team about your above reports please email C19LOC.education@staffordshire.gov.uk  - this e-mail account is monitored 8am – 8pm  Monday to Friday and 10am – 4pm at the weekends.

If someone displays symptoms in a school setting
If a member of staff feels unwell in school they should return home and arrange to have a test following the government website advice on testing.

In non-residential schools
If a pupil displays coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or has a positive test, while at their school they should avoid using public transport and, wherever possible, be collected by a member of their family or household.  The government guidance also advises on other ways a child may return home.
If a pupil is awaiting collection please follow Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance  page 8.  See also Action 8 above.

Schools with residential provision
Guidance on isolation for residential educational settings can be found online. 

Action 12

Response to any infection. You must always
Contain any outbreak by following PHE local health protection team advice

The Local Outbreak Control team will work with you and Public Health England to determine the actions you may need to take if you have an outbreak in school.
In some cases, advice may be pupils or staff will have to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure or additional precautions may be advised for school operations such as cleaning or other arrangements. 

7. Other Health, Safety and Wellbeing information and guidance

7.1. Fire, security, accident reporting and other emergency procedures

7.1.1. Emergencies
In an emergency, for example, an accident or fire, people do not have to follow social distancing measures/stay 2m apart if it would be unsafe to do so.

The fire and emergency arrangements for school must remain in place.  Where there is a change of use of classroom areas, or routes around school, Headteachers and school leaders MUST take account of this is in any review of Fire Evacuation or other emergency procedures and communicate to all staff and pupils who might be affected.  Consider additional signage and education about any changes.

7.1.2. Fire Drills
Fire drills must take place at least once per year (termly where possible).
Consideration must be given to how Fire Drills can be carried out safely, keeping to social distancing measures and minimising mixing and contact between groups.  This may mean organising and managing drills differently such as group by group/slow motion walking drills/drills on different days etc. 

Any personal evacuation plans (PEEPS) must be reviewed and implemented.

7.1.3. Fire Risk Assessment
Fire Risk Assessments and supporting procedures must be review if social distancing arrangements result in any alterations to the building, layout or actions that could be impact on fire safety.  Arrangements put in place must not impact negatively on fire safety arrangements.

7.1.4. Fire doors
Fire doors form an integral part of fire safety precautions to prevent the spread of fire and smoke in a building.

Wedging or propping doors open at any time should be avoided.  Schools should consider installing hold back devices which activate door closures when the fire alarm is activated.

Where schools are taking measures to increase air circulation and minimise touch points by propping open doors during the school day, the following arrangements must be in place:

  • Communication must take place with all staff and pupils regarding the actions to take with propped doors if the fire alarm is activated (doors should be closed as people evacuate and fire marshals should ensure doors are closed on their sweep of the building as they leave).
  • Procedures to ensure that doors are closed / returned to normal at the end of the school day and during the weekend or longer periods of no occupation.  The responsibility for ensuring doors are closed must be clearly defined and communicated to all staff.  This should be monitored to ensure this is happening.
  • The Fire Risk Assessment must be amended to reflect that these arrangements are in place to support infection risk control during Covid-19.

7.1.5.  Security
Any Security alert/terrorism arrangements should be re visited and reviewed, so that staff and pupils know how these will operate and procedures to follow.

7.1.6. Accidents and COVID-19 illness
For customers of the HSW Service, accidents should be reported and investigated in the normal way and reported using MyH&S.
Please report any diagnosed case of Covid-19 to the Local Outbreak Control team: C19LocalOutbreakControl@staffordshire.gov.uk
If any staff members are confirmed as having contracted COVID-19 and it is considered that this may be linked to exposure at work, this must be investigated and may be reportable to the HSE under the RIDDOR regulations.

7.2 First aid Provision
A review of the school’s Assessment of First Aid Provision may be required to ensure schools have enough first aiders in school. 
A First Aid Assessment must include the provisions required for EYFS. 

First Aiders should be informed of the following key controls if treating a person with symptoms of Covid-19:

  • Wash/sanitise hands before and after treating a person - follow handwashing guidelines.
  • Wear PPE as required in the PPE section above.
  • When performing CPR phone an ambulance and use compression only CPR until the ambulance arrives. Use a cloth or towel to cover the casualty’s mouth and nose while still permitting breathing

First Aid rooms and First Aid Kits must be provided with the required PPE for First Aiders to access as needed. See the PPE advice above.

7.3 Medication

Those schools supported by the HSW Service can view the SLN Medication page
Schools should continue to administer medication as required and follow their usual procedures, maintaining social distancing where possible.
Where an increased risk is identified then this should be reviewed on a risk assessment basis and this will include assessing any PPE requirements for staff administering medication. 
Where this was already in use PPE requirements should be maintained unless the risk assessments requires additional PPE.
The following government guidance Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) also gives further information on PPE required where pupils have complex medical needs.  

Enhanced cleaning
Ensure that medical rooms and any adjacent toilet facilities are subject to the enhanced cleaning regimes in place and that surfaces are cleaned often during the day when rooms are in use.  Ensure and encourage handwashing for all staff and pupils using these areas.

7.4 Control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH)

The use of any substances and chemicals used in school must be risk assessed.
This must include any additional cleaning substances used in school during this period. See further information on COSHH on the SLN.

7.4.1. Template COSHH assessments
The SLN guidance pages and the Staffordshire Web include some template COSHH assessments as follows:

Hand sanitiser, and wash and antiviral disinfectant COSHH Assessment
Example COSHH Assessments are available on the SLN for schools supported by the HSW Service.  A COSHH Assessment for hand sanitiser can be viewed on the Staffordshire web.

COSHH Assessments have also been made available for substances used in the LFT testing process.
These can be found on the SLN and Staffordshire web.

7.4.2. Cleaning and catering staff – COSHH Assessments
Increased cleaning will be taking place during this period and school cleaners, contractors and catering staff must have a COSHH assessment in place for any cleaning substances/ substances hazardous to health in use.

7.4.3. Staff use of substances - COSHH Assessments
Any new substances brought to site must be risk assessed, this will include substances brought to site by staff from home (see below). Any COSHH Assessment requires a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to be obtained and a risk assessment of the use of the substance to be carried out. NOTE an SDS is not a COSHH assessment.   
A COSHH assessment must be in place for substances being used by staff undertaking cleaning e.g. their own workspaces/classrooms. Information about the control measures required by the COSHH assessment must be given to all staff using the substances.

7.4.4. Bringing substances into school from home
Individual staff may also wish to bring substances to school to clean their personal belongings. In this situation, if school leaders permit these substances to be brought to site, all good practice and usual arrangements must apply, and permission granted for their use once a COSHH assessment has taken place.
Some pupils may wish to have their own hand sanitiser with them for personal use.  This may be beneficial for pupils with allergies etc.  Your settings policy on this should be considered and clearly communicated to parents.  Pupils should be self-sufficient in being able to use and apply these safely.

7.5 School Transport and Government Travel Guidance for Educational settings.

Schools should refer to the government guidance on school transport and any guidance from the School Transport team or transport provider on how this will be managed. Government guidance on school transport  and the  Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance .

7.6 Management of Contractors

The information below applies to work being out by contractors, and, where schools have this work carried out by in-house staff, the principles below must also be considered and applied where required.  The hazard exchange process should assist to record both the contractor and school arrangements.  

7.6.1. Cleaning contractors
School leaders should discuss with cleaning contractors how they will be operating, managing, and using work equipment and how they will carry out infection control, hand hygiene and social distancing during their work and in work areas.  During this process schools should discuss how cleaning contractors will review their risk assessments and COSHH assessments considering Covid -19 and this should be included in the hazard exchange process.  (see also Cleaning and COSHH in 7.4 above).

Schools should also discuss with cleaners what type of cleaning will also be carried out by others (such as school staff) during the day and ensure that all those carrying out cleaning duties are aware of who has responsibility for each type of cleaning to ensure that all enhanced and essential cleaning is completed. Cleaning must form part of the premises monitoring process.

Schools must ask any cleaning supplier to adhere to any school procedures and discuss any additional measures requested by their catering contractor.

Note that the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Service advice (pre Covid-19) is that school staff should not be using contractor owned equipment and visa-versa due to the requirements of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.  If cleaning equipment is being shared between school staff and contractors, then this should be stopped. If this cannot be avoided in the short term, then enhanced cleaning before and after equipment is being shared between the two groups must take place.

Fogging and misting cleaning techniques
Some settings have been using fogging and misting cleaning techniques, if these are in place the HSE Guidance Disinfecting using fog, mist and other systems during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic must be followed.

7.6.2. Catering contractors
In addition to the above measures (for Cleaning) catering operations can continue and must follow the government guidance in place for food business. During this process schools should discuss how catering contractors will review their risk assessments and COSHH assessments and this should also be conducted via a hazard exchange process. 

How pupils interact with catering staff and catering processes such as payment, the use of utensils and crockery, seating areas, queuing for food and the disposal of packaging etc must be considered as part of the risk assessment process for Covid -19.  Schools must ask any catering supplier to adhere to any school procedures and discuss any additional measures requested by their catering contractor such as face coverings social distancing measures.

7.6.3.  Premises and maintenance Contractors (Water system safety, fire extinguisher, fire alarms etc)
To ensure your site can continue to operate safely, contractors may need to be working on your school site. Contractors must be made aware of the school’s risk control arrangements and how to access and move around the site.
You must ensure that your contractor arrangements are updated and ensure that a hazard exchange process takes place and contractors highlight to you how they will manage the risk of Covid-19 for their own work and for your school community.  If you are permitting contractors to use site facilities such as toilet / rest areas, consider how you will maintain both social distancing and effective hygiene arrangements including enhanced cleaning. Additional provision for toilets and handwashing may need to be arranged by contractors for works which will continue for a longer period.  

7.6.4. Planned building and construction work
It is recommended that Headteachers and school leaders revisit planning for any projects or building works which were suspended during lockdown, are in progress or scheduled to start or restart.  Review the hazard exchange process, and any site arrangements you have previously discussed in the context of government and public health guidance and include the presence of staff and pupils on site.
How will contractors receive deliveries, control risk to themselves and other and how will they communicate with you? Especially review the permission you have given contractors to site facilities such as toilet / rest areas and if so, how you will maintain both social distancing and hygiene arrangements.  

7.7. Lettings

Schools should consider carefully which Lettings will be appropriate at this time and consider the arrangements they wish to have in place to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19 virus.
If a school permits a letting, the school must ensure that the organisation letting the room/building has considered the relevant government guidance for their sector and have put in place protective measures/infection control.
Where lettings of internal rooms and facilities are requested, schools must ensure that all infection control measures have been implemented to ensure that the risk of COVID-19 transmission is not increased with particular reference to enhanced cleaning regimes – note that this may include the letting to a wrap around care provider. 
Where lettings are using outside areas for sporting activities the risk of interaction with school premises such as touchpoints on gates/doors should be assessed.  This information should be included in any risk assessments you have in place.

If you continue with Lettings, please ensure that you:

  • follow the guidance in Health and Safety for Lettings;
  • carry out and record your hazard exchange process;
  • carry out enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures after a letting, and;
  • discuss and record how those letting your premises will manage the risk of Covid-19 for themselves and for your school community (including the enhanced cleaning they will be carrying out). 

7.7.1. Wrap around care and extracurricular provision

All parents may access wraparound and extra-curricular provision for their children, without any restrictions on the reasons for which they may attend.

Schools will follow the Government guidance on wrap around care. Note the difference between numbers permitted in groups for both indoor and outdoor provision in line with the government roadmap.

However, it remains important to continue to minimise mixing between children, where possible. When considering group sizes the recommended occupancy levels of the premises and levels of ventilation should be considered. For example, guidance for providers of grassroots sport and sport facilities recommends that the maximum occupancy of an indoor facility should be limited by providing a minimum of 100sqft per person.

If you hire out your premises for use by external wraparound childcare providers, such as after-school or holiday clubs, make sure these organisations have considered the relevant government guidance for their sector put in place protective measures in line with the guidance for protective measures for out of school settings.

Government advice is that schools should continue to work closely with any external wraparound providers which your pupils may use to minimise mixing between children. This can be achieved by taking steps such as trying to keep children in consistent groups. Smaller groups should be considered when it is not possible to do this.

Advice to parents about external childcare providers or out of school extra-curricular activities is also available.

7.8 Curriculum H&S advice

7.8.1 PE and Music
Schools must follow the detailed guidance available in the Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance.
Risk assessments must be in pace where required for those curriculum area where hazards exist, and must be created for those areas of curriculum delivery which are “new” due to changes made because of coronavirus restrictions.  This might include some remote teaching lessons.

External providers
External coaches and teachers can be used to deliver curriculum activities.

7.8.2. Educational visits
The government guidelines divides educational visits into day visits, domestic residential and international visits.  International visits are still not recommended until Sept 2021 (to be reviewed).
Schools must follow the guidance based on the roadmap

In line with the roadmap, schools were able to resume educational day visits from 12 April schools should consult the health and safety guidance on educational visits when considering visits.

Measures must include:

  • Any educational day visits must be conducted in line with relevant COVID-secure guidelines and regulations in place at that time.
  • The system of controls must be in place, such as keeping children within their consistent groups and the COVID-secure measures in place at the destination.
  • A full and thorough risk assessment is completed, which considers the control measures to be used.
  • Follow wider advice on visiting indoor and outdoor venues.

Domestic residential educational visits

In line with the roadmap, schools can undertake domestic residential education visits, from 17 May. Any domestic residential educational visits must be conducted in line with relevant COVID-19 guidance and regulations in place at that time. This will include:

  • Keeping children within their consistent groups (bubbles) for the purpose of the visit.
  • Completing a risk assessment for residential educational visits which follows the conditions in Annex C of the government guidance and the system of controls.

7.8.3. Science curriculum / D&T Curriculum and Covid-19 
CLEAPSS have published a number of guidance documents for schools to manage the science curriculum during Covid-19.
The key guide for Science is GL343 - Guide to doing practical work during the COVID-19 Pandemic - see CLEAPSS: http://science.cleapss.org.uk         

See also the D&T guidance from CLEAPSS and from DATA (based on CLEAPPS guidance).

Contact us

Staffordshire County Council, Health, Safety and Wellbeing Service
Staffordshire Place, Tipping Street, Stafford, ST16 2DH.

01785 355777
shss@staffordshire.gov.uk

 


 

Version Control section

Version 1 – May 2020

Version 2 – 29 May 2020 

  • Changes made to include new Guidance for secondary school provision from 15 June 2020 and Supporting children and young people with SEND as schools and colleges prepare for wider opening

Version 3 – 5 June 2020

  • Section 6. Edited to remove reference to hand dryers in after change in Government guidance. 
  • Section 9. Edit to 9.1 to give clarity on wording on face coverings.
  • New section 3.2 testing
  • Section 12.1. What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in a setting? And added links here to Local Outbreak Control Plan.

Version 4 – 8 July 2020

  • Whole document revised to take account of government guidance from 2.7.2020 for full opening of schools in Sept 2020 
  • Section on Test and Trace/Local Outbreak Control added and whole PPE section revised.

Version 5 – Includes Govt updates between 30 July 2020 and 24 August 2020

  • Section 1 – Government advice on premises updated.
  • 2.2.3. added to give examples of people with particular characteristics who may be at comparatively increased risk from coronavirus.
  • Section 3 – Wellbeing – details added about new Govt Wellbeing for Education Return programme starting in September 2020.
  • 3.1 New Wellbeing Action Plan launched by the HSW Service. 
  • 4.1 Change to Government advice that people who display symptoms of coronavirus must now self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days.
  • 4.2 Added clarity on record keeping with reference to test and trace. 
  • 4.4 Information on Home Testing Kits.
  • 9.1 Section completely revised based on new Govt advice on face-coverings in schools from 1 Sept.
  • 14.1 External Sports providers updated to include changes Govt. guidance.
  • 15. Catering and Cleaning – additional information included in both sections to add further advice.
  • 17.2 Change in advice on Fire Drills – reminder to consider how to organise fire drills whilst maintaining social distancing. 
  • 19. Section on Wrap around care and extracurricular provision updated to include changes Govt. guidance.
  • 20. Section on Music and singing - updated to include changes Govt. guidance.

Version 6 

  • Government updated guidance from 28 August
  • 3.2 Pupil Wellbeing – new information added about government advice and initiatives.
  • 6. Prevention Model - changed the layout to reflect Government changes to the “prevention” model. Updated illustrative diagram.
  • 9. Face-coverings – new section created to separate from PPE and to include new government guidance:
    • 9.2 How to dispose of face-coverings added
    • 9.3 Inclusion of WHO guidance on how to wear face-coverings
    • 9.6 Added - Exemption from wearing face-coverings
    • 9.7 Added – Notes on Middle Schools 
  • 10. Personal protective equipment (PPE) – moved to new section.
  • Sections 11 onwards renumbered.
  • 12. Medication – added link to guidance on when PPE required for pupils with complex needs.
  • 13. COSHH – slight wording change to add requirements for additional products now in school.
  • 15. PE / Sport / Outdoor Games / Extra Curricular Sport – changed to reflect government guidance updates.
  • 16. Wrap around care – added new sections 
    • 16.1 Wrap around care provided by other providers
    • 16.2 External sports coaches providing after school provision/care/clubs
  • 17.1 Cleaning contractors – wording change for clarity
  • 19.4 NEW section added Fire Doors. Outlines role of fire doors and their importance as fire precaution measures. Guidance on where additional ventilation is needed in school, and doors are wedged open, clarification on the measures required to support this. 
  • 22. Music, Dance and Drama – whole section reworded due to government guidance changes
  • 23. new – Science and D&T curriculum advice.

Version 7 Updated Government Guidance from 23 Feb 2021

  • Whole document updated to include;
    • The new/updated Government advice on System of controls.
    • Sections removed which duplicated govt guidance to now link to government guidance.
    • Links to HSW Service advice updated and created.

Version 8 – May 2021 – sections added and updated

Section 1 - Edited to create section split and numbered 1.1, 1.2 etc.
Section 1.1 Preparing premises – wording changed to reflect that schools have been fully open since February.
Section 1.4 NEW Added “Transition events and end of year school activities”.
Section 2 – Returning to school renamed “Attending School”
Section 6 – System of Controls. Action 2 Prevention. You must: Ensure face coverings are used in recommended circumstances. Sentence added to emphasise government guidance is to recommend in all schools that face coverings should be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of classrooms where social distancing is not possible and on public transport/school transport for pupils over age 11.
Section 7.7.1. Wrap around care and extracurricular provision updated
Section 7.8.2. Educational visits updated

Risk assessments

Managers and headteachers are required to undertake risk assessments to ensure that they have identified and controlled risks from COVID-19 within their team.

An example risk assessment for schools is available. This has been updated in line with the latest government guidance for Sept 2020 full opening. This should be adapted by schools for their own use.

A Lateral Flow testing risk assessment is available to be adapted for school use and for LFT testing at home.

Individual risk assessments

National data and government guidance indicates that some individuals have been identified as higher risk from COVID-19. The guidance on the Individual Risk Assessment page supports the completion of risk assessments for individual employees regarding the risks from COVID-19.

COSHH assessment

COSHH assessment for hand sanitiser is also available:

Hand sanitiser kept in vehicles

Note that Following widespread news coverage claiming that hand sanitiser kept in vehicles can pose a fire risk, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has refuted these reports and confirmed there have been no cases of such fires in the UK.


Public Health England - reporting and advice 

Public Health England (PHE) have produced a letter and checklist for schools with the emphasis on infection control principles which you may find useful.
PHE are requesting schools to notify them of COVID-19 situations by using the online reporting system or by telephone to 0344 225 3560 (opt 2 opt 2)


Further information for schools and early years settings

Webinars

Previous webinars for headteachers, principals and school leaders of academies in Staffordshire and non Staffordshire schools are available to view on our webinar page.

Premises management

A guide for the checks on pemises which should take place is availabe in the essential checklist for all premises

Face-coverings

World Health Organisation advice on the wearing of fabric face coverings is available in both video and poster formats. Schools may wish to use these as advice to both staff and pupils to ensure face coverings are worn and removed safely.

Cleaning 

Schools should follow the cleaning regimes and guidance in the government COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance

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