Boris Johnson official announced that all schools and colleges were to reopen across the UK on the 8th of March 2021. With students set to return, many schools are faced with the new challenge of how to manage the Coronavirus as students return.
In this blog, we offer some advice and tips to help schools and colleges manage this threat as students return through their doors.
How to manage the coronavirus as students return
1) Increase cleaning schedules around the school
Keeping schools clean is essential in managing the coronavirus threat as the students return. This includes increasing your regular cleaning schedule focusing on frequently touched surfaces and busy areas around the school. When cleaning, it is vital that you use antibacterial cleaning products, such as surface cleaner and detergents.
In addition to your regular cleaning efforts , an Electrostatic spray should be considered. Electrostatic spraying offers an effective way of killing and protecting surfaces from the virus. It uses a positively charged solution to ensure that all surfaces are reached, making it highly effective.
2) Keep the infected out of the schools
The Coronavirus is an incredibly transmittable virus, spread through close contact interactions. It is essential that those capable of passing on the virus are kept off the school premises.
Both pupils and members of staff should stay home if:
- They have had a positive test.
- A member of their household has COVID-19 symptoms.
- Have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus (test and trace)
3) Wear face coverings where possible
Where possible, encourage students and staff to wear face coverings whilst on site. In some cases, students may be too young, however, staff and pupils in secondary schools and colleges can help reduce the chance of transmitting the virus through wearing a mask.
Face coverings should be worn when moving around the building, outside of classrooms, in corridors and in communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.
4) Clean hands thoroughly and more often
Coronavirus is easily killed whilst on skin. By cleaning hands thoroughly and more often you can kill the virus and stop the spread. You can do this with soap and water or hand sanitiser.
It is recommended to encourage all visitors to the school to clean their hands:
- When they arrive at the school.
- When they return from breaks.
- When they change rooms.
- Before and after eating.
5) Promote ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’
The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach is brilliant in fighting the Coronavirus in younger age groups. It is an effective way of teaching children a method of maintaining their personal hygiene. It helps set a routine for children to follow when they need to sneeze or cough.
To enforce the technique properly, ensure that you have enough tissues and bins are available to support pupils and staff.
6) Reduce contact and maintain social distancing
Reducing contact of pupils and staff throughout the school will help manage any potential Coronavirus outbreaks. Ensuring everyone keeps as much distance as possible will also help.
It is important to mitigate as much risk throughout the day as possible. By mitigating risk, you are creating the safest environment possible. You can do this by considering:
- The pupil’s and staff’s ability to social distance.
- The layout of the building.
- The feasibility of keeping groups of students separate.
Some actionable methods to help with the above include:
- Grouping children in classes or age groups.
- Creating a staggered start time.
- Creating a staggered break routine.
- Limit the use of shared spaces including canteens and assembly halls.
7) Keep rooms well ventilated
Good ventilation reduces the risk of airborne transmission of the virus by reducing the concentration of the virus in the air. To maximise ventilation whilst keeping a comfortable working environment for students, try considering the below:
- Opening high level windows.
- Increasing the ventilation while spaces are unoccupied. This may be between classes or during break and lunch.
- Offer flexibility to allow additional, suitable indoor clothing.
- Rearranging furniture where possible to avoid direct draughts.
8) Roll out testing
Rapid asymptomatic testing can be incredibly beneficial for schools and colleges with older students. By staggering the students return to school, you can enforce a testing regime to identify any infectious students. This allows you to exclude them from the rest of the pupils until they have recovered from the virus.
Managing the Coronavirus as students return to school
We hope the advice and tips included above help you manage the coronavirus as students return to your school. If you have any other questions you can find the full government advice here.