The Department for Education (DfE) have issued new guidance on the safe operation of schools during this new period of lockdown which commences from 5th November 2020. The full guidance is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-and-childcare-settings-new-national-restrictions-from-5-november-2020
The majority of the controls that you have in place will continue to be required and should not be changed. The changes required due to the new restrictions can be summarised as follows.
Facial coverings – The DfE guidance remains unchanged. Facial coverings should be worn by all persons in Secondary settings in all communal areas and corridors. Primary schools have the discretion to implement this for adults if they choose to do so. Our recommendation, however, is to implement the wearing of facial coverings by adults in all settings, and by all children from Year 7 upwards, in order to mitigate the risk of the spread of infection between bubbles. These should be worn in communal areas and corridors. Wearing of facial coverings in classrooms is still not recommended at this time. Teachers are reminded of the recommendation to maintain 2m separation wherever possible.
Persons who are vulnerable – The guidance around those who were previously classified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and Clinically Vulnerable have now been clarified.
For the period of this lockdown, those adults classified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable should now work from home wherever possible. If this is not possible then they should remain at home for this period. Students who are classified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable should not attend any school, nursery or childcare setting for the duration of this lockdown.
We would recommend that all persons previously categorised as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable check with their GP to ensure that they are still required to remain in this category at this time.
All other persons, including those who were previously classified as Clinically Vulnerable, and those living with persons classified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable should continue to work and attend school as normal. For these persons, however, we would recommend that you implement additional hygiene and cleaning systems. This should include more regular cleaning of contact points within their areas of the school and increased social distancing if possible.
Sports, Music, Wraparound Care and Home Tutoring – These activities can continue with the current controls that are in place. We would advise schools to ensure that any external providers, such as sports coaches, peripatetic teachers, or those persons who might attend multiple settings, are subject to additional controls including social distancing, increased hygiene and cleaning.
We appreciate that these are very trying times and that there is a requirement for schools to implement any changes, which should be reflected by a change in your risk assessments, by Monday 9th November. If you need assistance and advice at this time, please do not hesitate to contact ProAktive where our consultants will provide practical advice.