Risk Assessment Update for June 15th
We are gradually building up to welcoming some year 10 and 12 students into college from next week in addition to the small numbers who are already in college. In order to do this safely we have completed a thorough risk assessment and want to share elements of this with you.
The main alteration in our risk assessment over the past two weeks is regarding face coverings. We have reviewed the guidance shared by a range of sources and have decided to insist that all staff and students, from June 15th must wear face coverings whilst in the classroom. The reason for this change is the evidence that is growing regarding the numbers of asymptomatic carriers and their ability to infect others via the production of aerosol droplets that can be formed through talking, shouting as well as traditional sources of droplet production. The actual % of infections that are asymptomatic varies and some papers have indicated it is between 18 to 75% - so a risk assessment that bases risk mitigation upon keeping symptomatic people away is potentially flawed. Advice shared by the Association of School and College Leaders estimates that masks reduce transmission by up to 80% - therefore we want staff and students to wear masks as a compassionate act towards others. If we act as though we have the virus even though we feel well – then we are more likely to protect others by doing so.
We will provide masks at the start of the day for those students unable to bring them into college – however we would ask that parents and carers seek to provide masks for their children each day – these could be disposable masks, but they could also be washable fabric masks.
It is important that masks are used correctly, so we will follow the guidance issued in this video for safe mask hygiene – touching the mask is to be avoided as much as possible (apart from the obvious contact needed to place and secure) and removing the mask to hang under the chin is to be avoided. We would also like parents and carers to provide a paper bag or zipped plastic bag so that the mask can be removed and used again during the day
Student should not wear college uniform – the Government guidance has been quite clear about clothes, and we would recommend that students wear their own clothes and wear different clothes each day
Students will be taught in small groups of less than 12 within their own age group. They will be based in one classroom for the duration of the day and staff will move from room to room in order to teach
Students will not mix across functional groups – for example – key worker children have been split into year groups for the past week now, and they will be absorbed into their year group for lessons – vulnerable children are being looked after in specific areas of the college that will not be used by other students
Gel stations will be available in every classroom – students will be expected to use hand gel upon entering and leaving a classroom, and we encourage students to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water when they have the opportunity during the day
We will base most classes within the K Block, pavilion and the library – students will be able to use the K block toilets which will be cleaned regularly during the day
Certain areas of the college will be out of bounds – this is largely to minimise the cleaning burden of using a wide number of rooms but also due to a range of refurbishment activities which are currently underway in the college - we will ensure that the classroom bases are given a thorough clean down at the end of each day
Break times will be staggered so that students will be able to mix with their peers but it is essential that they respect the social distancing guidelines of 2m
If students plan to use school buses in order to get to college then it is vital that they have a face mask for the journey and that they become very aware of touching surfaces and then their face – a small supply of hand sanitiser would be useful for the journey to school
The canteen will not be open during the day so please ensure that your child has some water and a snack for the day
A one way system will be in operation throughout areas of the college – please encourage your child to be aware of signs and to follow them at all times
Specific questions regarding COVID
Q. What if my child displays COVID symptoms prior before the college day/weekend
The standard guidance is that anyone with symptoms should contact NHS direct and book a test – they will also be expected to isolate for 7 days with the rest of the family isolating for 14 days or 7 days within the 14 day window if symptoms appear or less if the test comes back negative. Students who have been kept off college for displaying symptoms will need to demonstrate a negative test result if they come back within the 7 day period
Q What if my child develops symptoms at college?
Any students displaying the symptoms of cough/temperature will be isolated and contact home will be made for the parents to pick up their child as soon as possible – we ask you to make sure that this is not in a few hours – in the interests of everyone's’ safety it is imperative that if we call you to notify of COVID symptoms then you must pick your child up immediately. Then the isolation expectations above will need to be followed.
Q What if a child or teacher is sent home with symptoms....what happens to the rest of the group they had contact with?
This is slightly easier to manage now that the Government is committed to cycle tests within 24 hours. If a student or teacher is sent home then we will carry on as normal for the rest of the day for that group – we will notify parents of such an event and that we will contact them as soon as the test result is known. There is no reason for the students or other staff to stay away from college the next day whilst the test is carried out – remember that the impact of the social distancing, the impact of wearing a mask means that there is a marked decrease in the chance of picking up the infection. As soon as we are notified of the test result then we will share it. If the test is positive then, as per the test and trace procedures, the student/teacher alone will be required to isolate for 14 days or sooner if the symptoms appear – there is no need for others in the family to isolate if the student/teacher has no symptoms. If the test comes back negative, then we carry on as “usual”