Protecting the School Community
Health and Safety - protective factors in school
This information should be read in conjunction with the information on the page School Opening for September and the flowchart on the page Action to take in the event of COVID 19 incident in the school. This document sets out all the protective factors we are putting in place to protect our staff and pupils in minimising the risk of transmission of the virus and create a safe environment within school. These measures are in line with the Government guidance issued on 2 July 2020, in preparation for a return to school for all pupils in September.
The following matters are covered in this document:
- Year group bubbles
- Minimising contact
- Effective infection prevention and control
- Good respiratory hygiene
- Enhanced cleaning
- Response to infection
Year groups – bubbles: The school will operate in year group bubbles with a maximum of 60 pupils and two teachers in each bubble. Pupils will predominantly remain within their class of 30 with one teacher for lessons, but for break times and some learning and outdoor activities, pupils will be in a year group bubble. Teaching assistants will also work within the year group bubble and in order to reduce contact between people and therefore transmission risk, children and staff will only mix within this bubble.
- Children will remain in their year group bubble at all times during the day, and will not mix with other year groups.
- The class teachers will remain constant, wherever possible
- Children will use the same classroom every day
- If a cover teacher is needed this will either be a teaching assistant within the bubble or a member of staff who has not been working in another bubble for at least 7 days. Alternatively, as is permitted by the government guidance, if necessary, we may use supply teachers via an agency but this is not our preferred route of sourcing additional cover.
- Teaching assistants will work only within the year group bubble when inside the school and wherever possible will remain within the bubble during break times. When supervising in the playground (where the transmission risk is lower) staff may supervise across year groups.
We will do everything possible to minimise contacts, whilst delivering a broad and balanced curriculum. We recognise that safe distancing will be difficult between pupils where there are 30 pupils in one classroom. However, contact between individuals will be minimised and social distancing maintained, wherever possible within the classroom and within all other activities. It is recognised that younger children cannot socially distance from each other or staff and therefore the routine hygiene measures and containing the bubble are the most important protective factors in the younger age groups. Similarly, distancing will not be possible when working with any pupils who have complex needs or who need close contact care. These pupils’ educational and care support will be provided as normal.
The following measures will be in place:
- Reduce the number of contacts between children and staff by remaining in bubbles
- Where possible, encourage and support children not to touch staff or their peers
- Staff to try and maintain a height difference (children sitting, teachers standing)
- Staff will maintain distance from pupils and other staff as much as possible (ideally, maintaining 2 metre distance from each other)
- Close face to face contact will be avoided
- Classrooms will be arranged with forward facing desks and with as much space as possible between desks , pupils will be seated side by side and facing forwards (not EYFS)
- Unnecessary furniture will be removed from classrooms
- Children will be encouraged to not move around the classroom unnecessarily
- EYFS provision that relies on ‘free flow’ between learning areas, will remain in place, in order that we can offer appropriate and high quality provision for this age group
- Playtimes/Lunch breaks will be scheduled at different times to reduce the number of bubbles in the playground at any one time.
- Each year group bubble will have a designated play area
- Playground resources will be allocated to each bubble, for their use only
- School lunch will be packed lunch and be eaten either in the classroom or designated play area
There will be minimal use of corridors as:
- Year 5/ Year 6 have a separate staircase to exit to playground
- EYFS, Year 1, Year 2 pupils exit directly on to the playground from their classrooms
- Year 3 / Year 4 have a separate staircase to exit to the playground
When corridors and stairs are in use:
- Corridors and stairs will be marked with 2m guides on the floor
- Children walk on the left side of the corridor and stairs
- One bubble at a time will use the stairs (no two way use)
- Toilets/hand basins will be allocated for dedicated use by each bubble and numbers of children using the toilet facilities will be managed carefully (this will remain in place at all break times including lunchtime).
- Opportunities for outdoor learning will be increased and timetabled for every group as this can limit transmission and more easily allow for distance between children and staff
- Children and staff will be encouraged to wash their hands regularly and thoroughly for 20 seconds, using soap and running water and dry them thoroughly or use hand sanitiser
- Hand washing is built into the daily routine and school culture
- There are clear behaviour expectations around hygiene, ensuring younger children and any pupils with additional needs understand the need to follow them
- Children will wash their hands regularly and thoroughly using soap, throughout the day (for a minimum of 20 seconds):
- on arrival
- before and after eating
- before and after play times
- after sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose
- before and after using any shared equipment (playground /PE)
- after using the toilet
- Children will be reminded not to touch their mouth, eyes and nose
- Hand sanitisers are located by the exits to the playground, hall and in the school office area
- Additional outdoor sinks are being installed in the playground to facilitate more frequent and accessible hand washing
- The library will not be in use, instead books will be transferred to class libraries
- Good respiratory hygiene will be promoted with ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ - lidded bins will be placed in each classroom and tissues made readily available in all classrooms
- Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools is not currently recommended in government guidance and therefore staff and pupils are not required to wear face coverings, unless guidance on this changes.
- The caretaker’s hours have been adjusted to allow for more regular cleaning during the day.
- More frequent cleaning of rooms / shared areas that are used by different groups i.e. the hall.
- Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned more often than normal – taps, handles, desks etc.
- Bubbles will be allocated their own toilet within a shared toilet block and toilets will be cleaned during the day and thoroughly at the end of the day
- Outdoor fixed play equipment will be allocated to one bubble and rotated to allow them to be left unused and out of reach for a period of 48 hours (72 hours for plastics) between use by different bubbles
- Children will be allocated a chair/table/laptop for their use only (these items will be cleaned before use by the next pupil group)
- Toys, games, books, will be cleaned regularly and resources with small parts will be rotated or removed from the classrooms, if these cannot be cleaned easily
- Resources that are shared between classes or bubbles, such as sports, art and science equipment will be cleaned frequently and meticulously and always between bubbles, or rotated to allow them to be left unused and out of reach for a period of 48 hours (72 hours for plastics) between use by different bubbles. Where possible resources will be allocated to a bubble and remain for their sole use.
- Classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned at the end of every day
- Doors will be propped open (using fire safety openers) to minimise touching of handles/door plates
- Windows/ doors will be opened in all classrooms to aid ventilation
- Soft furnishings/soft toys/cushions that cannot be cleaned will be removed from classrooms
- Any shared resources used by after school club, club providers and any other groups will be more frequently cleaned e.g. playground equipment
The school will:
- Engage with the NHS Test and Trace process
- Manage confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst the school community
- Contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice
- Any child or member of staff with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or who has tested positive in the last 7 days, or who has someone in their household who does, will be requested to not attend school
- If anyone in the school becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), they will be sent home and advised to follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’,
- The guidance sets out that they must self-isolate for at least 10 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19). Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.
- If a child becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while they are in school, parents will be requested to collect their child as quickly as possible. The child will be isolated from others in a safe space and where possible at a distance of 2m from anyone else, if contact is necessary, then PPE will be worn by the staff supervising (disposable gloves, apron and a fluid-resistant surgical face mask). The area used will be thoroughly cleaned afterwards.
- Any members of staff who have helped someone with symptoms and any pupils who have been in close contact with them do not need to go home to self-isolate unless they develop symptoms themselves (in which case, they should arrange a test) or if the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive (see below) or they have been requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace.
- Engaging with the NHS Test and Trace process:
The school will contact Public Health England health protection team.
Staff members and parents/carers must be ready and willing to:
- Book a test if they are displaying symptoms.
- All children can be tested, including children under 5, but children aged 11 and under will need to be helped by their parents/carers if using a home testing kit
- Provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if they were to test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if asked by NHS Test and Trace
- Self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or someone who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a test. Tests can be booked online through the NHS testing and tracing for coronavirus website, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet.
- By the autumn term, all schools will be provided with a small number of home testing kits that can be given directly to parents/carers collecting a child who has developed symptoms at school, particularly if this increases the likelihood of a test being undertaken.
- Parents/carers will be required to inform the school immediately of the results of a test:
- If the test result is negative and your child feels well and no longer has symptoms similar to coronavirus (COVID-19), they can stop self-isolating.
They could still have another virus, such as a cold or flu – in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until they are better. Other members of their household can stop self-isolating.
- If the test result is positive they should follow the ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’ and must continue to self-isolate for at least 7 days from the onset of their symptoms and then return to school only if they do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste. This is because a cough or anosmia can last for several weeks once the infection has gone. The 7-day period starts from the day when they first became ill. If they still have a high temperature, they should keep self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal. Other members of their household should continue self-isolating for the full 14 days.
- Managing confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst the school community:
The flowchart on the page Action to take in the event of COVID 19 incident in the school. provides an easy to follow summary of the procedures to be followed by parents/carers and the school in the event anyone develops symptoms.
A significant recent change in issued guidance is that from September it will not be necessary to for an entire bubble to be sent home if there is a confirmed case of Covid. Instead, the guidance is that we should follow the procedure set out below:
If we have a confirmed case of (COVID-19) the school will contact the local health protection team. This team will also contact schools directly if they become aware that someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) attended the school – as identified by NHS Test and Trace.
The health protection team will carry out a rapid risk assessment to confirm who has been in close contact with the person during the period that they were infectious, and ensure they are asked to self-isolate.
The health protection team will work with the school to guide the actions that need to be taken. Based on the advice from the health protection team, the school will send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive, advising them to self-isolate for 14 days since they were last in close contact with that person when they were infectious. Close contact means:
- direct close contacts - face to face contact with an infected individual for any length of time, within 1 metre, including being coughed on, a face to face conversation, or unprotected physical contact (skin-to-skin)
- proximity contacts - extended close contact (within 1 to 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with an infected individual
The health protection team will provide definitive advice on who must be sent home. With the school operating in bubbles of pupils and staff, this process should be easy to manage.
No names or details will be shared regarding (COVID-19) unless essential to protect others and proof of negative test results or other medical information will not be requested welcoming children back to school after a period of self-isolation.
Household members of those contacts who are sent home do not need to self-isolate themselves unless the child, young person or staff member who is self-isolating subsequently develops symptoms. If someone in a class or group that has been asked to self-isolate develops symptoms themselves within their 14-day isolation period they should follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’. They should get a test, and:
- If the test delivers a negative result - they must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 14-day isolation period. This is because they could still develop the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the remaining days.
- If the test result is positive - they should inform the school immediately, and must isolate for at least 7 days from the onset of their symptoms (which could mean the self-isolation ends before or after the original 14-day isolation period). Their household should self-isolate for at least 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms, following ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’
Further guidance is available on testing and tracing for coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Containing an outbreak:
If the school has two or more confirmed cases within 14 days, or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, it could be an outbreak, and in this situation we will continue to work with our local health protection team who will be able to advise if additional action is required.
In some cases, health protection teams may recommend that a larger number of other pupils self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole school or key stage.
Through the implementation of all the safety measures as listed and with the collaboration of our whole school community respecting government guidelines in and out of school, we are doing the utmost to reduce the risk of transmission and minimise the risk of partial or full closure. We aim to operate safely, providing a broad curriculum and high quality education for all our pupils.