General News

How one school is coping with the day to day reality of COVID-I9

It is fair to say that the speed at which Coronavirus has spread and affected everybody has been a bit of a shock. There wasn’t a precedent for this and the UK is facing the most significant lockdown since the second world war. The words Keep Calm and Carry On has acquired new relevance in 2020.

So what do schools do to plan for an unprecedented threat to the health and safety of pupils and staff and their parents' careers and vulnerable loved ones? What do to ensure we protect school communities and keep safe the communities in which school communities are based. 

All schools will no doubt be monitoring the situation closely and receiving daily updates from the Government, the Department of Education and Public Health England. The cleaning routines for schools will have been reviewed and schools will be endeavouring to ensure that surfaces and ‘touchpoints’ such as door handles, light switches and computers are regularly disinfected. Handwashing facilities will no doubt be checked and replenished daily and the gathering of children in larger numbers will be reduced as much as is practicably possible, with parents' events, trips, visits and fixtures all suspended until further notice.  

All schools will also be ensuring all pupils are following good hygiene advice from the Department of Health. Walk into any hospital or ask any scientist and you will be told that the best way to prevent being infected with Covid-I9 or infecting others with is to wash your hands effectively.  It is simple effective advice and we need everyone to do it and to do it well. Effective hand washing, coughing or sneezing into a tissue and then disposing of it or coughing or sneezing into the crook of your arm if caught short without a tissue has become a very simple but extremely important lesson to learn and as all teachers know repetition reinforces learning so we do need to keep repeating it.

One school is finding ways to take the message to pupils in a different way by using science, art and citizenship classes as well as school assemblies to increase awareness of just how effective good hygiene can be in keeping everyone safe. Pupils are designing good hand hygiene posters and putting them up inside and outside classrooms and around the school to remind everyone in the school community to do their bit to make the school community safer. They are learning about how virus’ spread, about medical conditions that make people more vulnerable and about virus control and vaccines. They are discussing the issues that Covid-I9 has brought up for people of all ages and from all walks of life and they are learning about the work of the World Health Organisation in the fight to keep their word a safe healthy place.  They are on a mission to ensure that everyone in the school community works together to increase the knowledge understanding and awareness of pupils in a proactive positive way in order to keep everyone safe in school and in the wider community.

As the week progresses schools may be faced with further upheaval and disruption as the situation with Covid-I9 intensifies. There will be a move to working at home as schools close and providing lessons to students remotely using technology.  There will be further challenges as schools find ways to work and educate pupils and the need to ensure that data is kept safe during this change and upheaval will be something that may not at present be at the forefront of school leadership thinking but it will need to be thought about.  If you need assistance then please do not hesitate to call the team at DPE. As your Data Protection Officer, we are still here to advise and support you moving forwards in these uncertain times.