Created: July 2020 by Jenny Owen

Last Reviewed/Updated: Reviewed and approved by Nancy Monaghan 12/08/2020

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There are important actions that children and young people, their parents and carers, and those who work with them, can take during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to help prevent the spread of the virus.

This Guidance for Safe Working has been put together with reference to Government policy and guidance, and will be reviewed regularly. We will inform staff, students and parents/guardians of any changes that are made in line with developing Government policy and guidance. 

We ask staff to acknowledge receipt and understanding of this Guidance, and any updates.

We encourage open communication and shared understanding of the measures in place. We welcome feedback, and will take perceived safety issues seriously.

How we have prepared for Face-to-Face Classes

We have created a Risk Assessment, which addresses the hazards associated with running Face-to-Face classes during the COVID-19 outbreak, and the measures we are putting in place to mitigate risk. We have also revised our policies ahead of re-opening, with specific considerations for the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have been in communication with the owner of Denshaw Village Hall (currently the only of our hire venues to be open) to discuss their Risk Assessment for opening, and the measures they have in place. They have informed us that hand sanitisers have been installed, and the toilets reconfigured to promote social distancing measures.

In order to minimise the number of people in the building, we will initially limit the return to Face-to-Face classes to students who are preparing for LAMDA exams in September/November, their coaches, and a cleaner.

We will assign staff and students to particular classes when they return and have them stay in those consistent groups for future sessions, as far as it is possible. These classes will be kept small enough to allow social distancing of 2m.

We will design the timetable to allow for sufficient changeover time to clean the area between different classes or groups of children, ensuring areas do not become overcrowded. 

We will keep up-to-date records of the students attending, including the specific groups and members of staff they have been assigned to.

We will use disposable rubbish bags for used tissues and masks.

Travelling to class

If you have, or are showing symptoms of, coronavirus (COVID-19) (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell – anosmia), or have someone in your household who is, you should not be attending face-to-face classes. You should be at home, in line with the guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection. If you have symptoms you should arrange to have a test to check if you have coronavirus.

As far as possible, please avoid travelling by public transport. It is better to walk, cycle, or use a private vehicle (provided everyone in it is from the same household). If you drive your own vehicle, please ensure surfaces and controls are routinely sanitised.

If using public transport, be aware of recommendations (including distancing, wearing face coverings, and avoiding peak times):

Staff will have their temperature taken on arrival. 

Wash your hands when you enter the building, or use the hand sanitiser provided.

A member of staff will escort students between the class and carpark, in order to limit the number of people entering the building. Please bring an umbrella and/or a raincoat in case of rain.

Students must be supervised at all times, unless their Parent/Guardian has given permission that they may arrive and leave class alone.

What to bring to classes

To minimise the sharing of equipment, staff must bring their own of the following to each class, and must not share with other members of staff or students:

  • Scripts
  • Student Packs/Exam Questions (for LAMDA exam candidates)
  • Notebook
  • Register
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Bottled water
  • Packet of disposable tissues
  • First Aid kit (if you are trained) – please ensure this is stocked, and let Nancy know if you need anything replacing.
  • Packed lunch/snacks (to minimise the need to go to local shops)

Running the class

When it comes to COVID-19 security, staff will follow the same guidance as students, as detailed in the Covid-19 Code of Conduct. We should aim to uphold the Code of Conduct by setting a good example, and by reminding students of the guidelines:

  • Respect social distancing of 2m at all times. You will be separated from other students/pairs in the hall, and floor tape or markers will be used to help pairs and coaches keep a distance from each other while working together. Follow one-way systems in the foyer and corridor.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly when you arrive in the building, when you leave, and when you return home. You should also wash your hands after touching your face, blowing your nose and sneezing or coughing. Hand-washing instructions will be displayed at sinks, and hand-sanitiser is also available.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not into your hand. Dispose of tissues into a disposable rubbish bag and immediately clean your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser. 
  • Students should attempt not to raise voices. They are asked to be considerate of others sharing the space.
  • Do not share food or drinks. You must bring your own bottled water to class; students will not be permitted without one. Please bring a packed lunch if possible, to reduce the risk of transmission while visiting shops. Remember to wash your hands before eating. 
  • We will limit the number of people using the toilet at any time, so students must ask before they go. Everyone should follow the hand-washing instructions displayed at the sink.

We recognise that young children and children with special educational needs may not be able to understand the need for social distancing and may also seek close interaction with their peers or adults to provide reassurance at a period of disruption to their routines. We have conducted risk assessments around managing groups of children within the setting. This includes limiting the number of children in each group and reducing this to provide more space. As far as possible, small groups of children will be supported by consistent staffing, and groups will remain as consistent as possible throughout the outbreak.

We recognise that children are not always good at hand hygiene. Therefore, staff will pay special attention to children’s hand hygiene, as far as possible.

We will keep up-to-date records of the students attending, including the specific groups and members of staff they have been assigned to.

Students who require first aid will continue to receive care in the same way. No additional PPE is needed because of coronavirus (COVID-19) for anyone who does not have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms. Treating the casualty properly will be the first concern.

If someone shows COVID-19 symptoms during class

If anyone 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, they must be sent home and advised to follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. They should self-isolate for at least 7 days and arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19.) Other members of their household must self-isolate for 14 days from when the initial household member first had symptoms.

If a student is awaiting collection, they will be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, with appropriate adult supervision if required depending on the age of the child. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, we will move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.

If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they will use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom will be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.

PPE will be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if direct personal care is needed and a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs). The PPE that should be used in the following situations when caring for someone with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) is:

  • A fluid-resistant surgical face masks (also known as Type IIR) should be worn if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained
  • if contact is necessary, then disposable gloves, a disposable apron and a Type IIR face mask should be worn
  • eye protection, such as goggles or a visor, if a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of fluids entering the eye, for example, from coughing, spitting or vomiting

When PPE is used, it is essential that it is used properly. This includes scrupulous hand hygiene and following guidance on how to put PPE on and take it off safely in order to reduce self-contamination.

In an emergency, we will call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. The child should not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.

Any member of staff who has helped someone with symptoms, and any students who have been in close contact with them, do not need to go home to self-isolate unless they develop symptoms themselves or they are later advised to do so by NHS test and trace or the local PHE health protection team.

Everyone should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell. We will cleaning the affected area with normal household disinfectant after the person with symptoms has left to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.

Engage with the NHS test and trace process and respond rapidly to confirmed cases

We must ensure we understand the NHS test and trace process so that we know how to respond if anyone within the setting is suspected or confirmed to have coronavirus (COVID-19). We must also know how to contact our local PHE health protection team, and do so as soon as we have a confirmed case or an overall rise in suspected cases.

Anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a test. Tests can be booked on the NHS testing and tracing for coronavirus website or ordered by telephone via NHS 119. Essential workers, which includes anyone involved in education, childcare or social work, and their households, have priority access to testing.

We must take swift action when we become aware that someone who has attended has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). Based on the advice from our local PHE health protection team, we must ask those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive to self-isolate for 14 days since they were last in close contact with that person when they were infectious.

Further guidance is available on NHS test and trace, and there is specific guidance for schools, further education institutions and early years providers.

Enhanced Cleaning Measures

Cleaning should be generally enhanced, including:

  • more frequent cleaning of rooms or shared areas that are used by different groups
  • cleaning frequently touched surfaces more often than normal, such as: 
    • door handles
    • handrails
    • table tops
    • electronic devices (such as phones)

When cleaning, use the usual products, like detergents and bleach, because these are very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces.

How should PPE and face coverings be disposed of?

Used PPE and any disposable face coverings that staff, children, young people or other learners arrive wearing should be placed in a refuse bag and can be disposed of as normal domestic waste unless the wearer has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Used PPE and face coverings should not be put in a recycling bin or dropped as litter. We should provide extra bins for staff and customers to throw away face coverings and PPE and should ensure that staff and customers do not use a recycling bin.

Any non-disposable face coverings that staff or children, young people or other learners are wearing when they arrive at their setting must be removed by the wearer and put in a plastic bag that the wearer has brought with them in order to take it home. The wearer must then clean their hands.

To dispose of waste such as disposable cleaning cloths, face coverings, tissues and PPE from people with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), including people who are self-isolating and members of their household:

  • put it in a plastic rubbish bag and tie it when full
  • place the plastic bag in a second bin bag and tie it
  • put it in a suitable and secure place marked for storage for 72 hours

This waste should be stored safely and securely kept away from children. You should not put your waste in communal waste areas until the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours.

Storing for 72 hours saves unnecessary waste movements and minimises the risk to waste operatives. This waste does not require a dedicated clinical waste collection in the above circumstances.