Westward School

COVID-19 Policy, Procedures and Risk Assessment

Rationale

The logic behind these actions, and the need for this note, is the ongoing ‘duty of care’ the school has for their whole community: proprietors, staff, parents and pupils.  A 'duty of care' means a legal obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of others. Some duties are established, such as “the teacher and pupil relationship”, and “the employer and employee relationship”. With COVID-19 schools are having to make difficult and timely decisions in order to fulfil this duty to their pupils, parents and staff. The test when considering whether a duty has been properly discharged is “what would the reasonable person have done, or not done, in the circumstances of this particular incident?”. 

For COVID-19 there are three important factors to take into account: 

  1. state of knowledge - the developing knowledge of the virus itself and up-to-date government guidance at the time decisions are made. 
  2. seriousness of likely injury – this will have to be assessed on a case by case basis. For example, if there has been a confirmed case in the school population. A proportionate risk assessment would also have to be taken in identifying where an affected individual has been, who they had contact with and areas they may have used. A further concern is if some pupils have more vulnerability to COVID-19 than others.
  3. Difficulty of taking precautionary measures - closing, partial opening and reopening the school during the pandemic has resulted in adapting measures and precautions on a nearly daily basis, ensuring the school has as many of the requisite tools at their disposal to tackle the challenges presented by COVID-19.

The School – States of Operation  

For the purposes of this Risk Assessment a number of stages of operation for schools have been considered:

  1. Fully Open Business as usual: no travel or trip restrictions.
  2. Open Business as usual: with caveats – no visitors or trips. 
  3. Open T In transition: some teaching in school and some remotely. 
  4. Open K Key staff and key worker/vulnerable children in school.  

                             All other teaching remote.

  1. Open R Teaching is all achieved remotely.
  2. Fully Closed No one on site except proprietors or maintenance staff.

 

 

Running the School - Assessing the Risk

COVID-19 is particularly awkward as the outcome of the risk assessment for one group within a school will have an impact on another: teaching staff, support staff, visitors and contractors (if these groups are allowed access) or pupils of varying age groups and class size.

The overall assessment of risk will require daily revision and should include but not be limited to:

  1. Is Government advice being regularly accessed, assessed, recorded and applied?
  2. Are changes regularly communicated to staff, pupils, parents and proprietors?
  3. Are changes reviewed by proprietors?
  4. Is access to school controlled effectively and are visitor (if allowed) details recorded?
  5. Are Social Distancing (SD) and other hygiene rules communicated, understood and applied?
  6. Are staff and pupils being reminded and checked to ensure they are complying with hygiene and Social Distancing (SD) rules?
  7. Are there sufficient supplies of hygiene materials and are they well placed?
  8. Has the cleaning regime been regularly re-assessed and, if necessary, revised to high risk areas such as toilets, door handles, switches, hand rails and regularly used hard surfaces?
  9. What precautions are being used to keep shared teaching equipment (e.g. musical instruments) hygienic?
  10. Are high risk areas being regularly monitored for hygiene? 
  11. Are contingency plans in place for the transition to full opening (or re-closing) including rapidly sharing decisions?
  12. Are all the risks identified properly mitigated and regularly re-assessed?

 

In addition to the above the following will need to be considered for pupils, parents, and staff:

  1. What SD rules have the school decided?  Are they different for parents, children, children in “bubbles”, activities such as games, drama?
  2. What PPE has been recommended and, dependent on Risk Assessment, what has the school decided to equip staff and pupils? The range of PPE may include:
    1. Masks
    2. Gloves
    3. Shields (for face or lecterns, desk separators, staff desks)
    4. Sanitisers (gel and tissues)
    5. Aprons 
  3. Medical.  Who has:
    1. Pre-existing medical conditions and are they fully declared?
    2. Have all vulnerable pupils, parents and staff been identified and recorded?
    3. Tested positive for COVID-19 and is it recorded? (for elimination purposes)?
    4. Come into contact with anyone tested positive to COVID-19?
    5. Travelled where: other than home and school? (via app or written diary).
    6. Been sent home with COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change to sense of smell or taste).
  4. Are plans being considered for school events including plays, concerts, parent and teacher meetings etc

 

A grid, to record the risks, control measures and outcomes, is at Annex A.   




Conclusion 

The phrase “a lot of moving parts” has never been so correctly applied to a situation where the risk posed by the virus is dynamic and will remain so.  So many different stakeholders of varying ages and health will bring multiple shifting risks which must be considered on a daily basis for the safety of pupils, staff and parents.   

The Headteacher and Senior Management must analyse and then co-ordinate the way ahead.  To do this, information from agencies and knowledge of the school are paramount factors to bring the right information at the right time to schools to allow informed decisions and changes that reflect a safe and secure school environment.

The School’s policy towards staff and pupil illness will be that: 

If a member of staff or pupil shows symptoms that would require ‘self-isolation’ under the current Government guidance, they will be sent home immediately to ‘self-isolate’ 

 

Responsibilities 

The Headteacher 

The Headteacher is to maintain and update all information relating to the development of the epidemic and the current advice from the Government, Local Authority and NHS. 

 

School Staff will: 

  •  follow government guidance on self-isolation; 
  • report symptoms immediately to the Headteacher and leave work to go home and to self-isolate and 
  • report any concerns regarding a child displaying relevant symptoms.

 

Hygiene Precautions

 Children and staff will be required to follow the government advice on regular hand washing as being the best method of avoiding transmission of the virus. Hand sanitiser and tissues will be available in school. Signs and posters will be used to remind staff and children of the above. Face masks will not be worn unless explicitly advised by Government or NHS officials, as this may cause unnecessary distress to some children.

 

Pupil Travel 

Parents should advise of any foreign travel plans of any family members for our records.

Where pupils move around in their immediate neighbourhood, they should consider the following:

  • the choosing of destinations based on more/less likely exposure risk; 
  • avoiding busy times for visits to reduce exposure and 
  •  including additional hand washing/use of sanitiser as part of any visits.

 

Staff Travel 

Staff should not attend external events such as conferences, training and information exchange visits to other schools until further notice.

 

Visitors to School 

General visits to school should be cancelled during school hours to minimise the exposure of our children. Other visitors to school can be admitted provided: 

  • The visit is essential for the education, health or wellbeing of a the child 
  • The visit is to carry out essential urgent maintenance on school property – non urgent maintenance should be carried out when children are not present in school. 
  • The visitor is not showing any symptoms that would require ‘self-isolation’ under the current government guidance. 
  • The visitor follows the hand washing / sanitisation requirements.

 

Parental Choice 

The school recognises that some parents/carers may judge that the risk to a child will be minimised if they do not attend school. This is most likely to be the case for those pupils or their family members at highest risk from COVID-19. The school will authorise such absences.

 

Illness of Member of Staff or Child 

If a member of staff or pupil becomes ill, the symptoms will be assessed against current Governmental advice. If the symptoms are consistent with a requirement to ‘self-isolate’ the member of staff or child will be sent home. It is recognised that the judgement about whether the symptoms are consistent with the need to self-isolate may be difficult for mild symptoms. The school recognises that this is likely to result in a significant increase in staff and/or pupil absence from school, but also that this is appropriate to limit the risk to all members of school and their families.

 

S Stevenson & J Parkhurst

Written March 2020

Update 20.05.20

Overall Risk Assessment in the COVID-19 Environment

 

Risk

Control Measures / Remarks / Notes

1

Is Government advice being regularly accessed, assessed, recorded and applied?

Ensure key emails and communications are disseminated, recorded and understood by all involved

Regular update emails sent out to parents and staff as required 

Advice a regular feature on the weekly parent newsletter

Government information posters can be found in key areas around the school. The Headteacher to work with the Office Manager (RP) in ensuring that the most up to date information is displayed.

2

Are changes regularly communicated to staff, pupils, parents and proprietors?

Email system 

Pupils provided with daily messages from their teachers

Google Meet set up where necessary

3

Are changes reviewed by proprietors?

Close contact maintained between Headteacher and proprietors

4

Is access to school controlled effectively and are visitor (if allowed) details recorded?

Staggered start and finish times ensuring pupils & parents from different year groups do not cross over where possible

Restrictions on visitors to school at present.

See visitors in the school section.

5

Are Social Distancing (SD) and other hygiene rules communicated, understood and applied?

Posters & demarcation as appropriate. Emails to parents detailing school stance

2m spots and markers to support social distancing measures within the school environment, this includes at drop off and collection times.

Hand sanitising stations located throughout the school. Two stations at the double gate and one at the front door for entry and exit. Hygiene stations are also located within each classroom bubble.

Social distancing measures in place in the toilet areas.

All classroom pods will be kept well ventilated. Doors and windows will be kept open at all times.

6

Are staff and pupils being reminded and checked to ensure they are complying with hygiene and Social Distancing (SD) rules?

‘Back to school’ briefings

Posters & information

7

Are there sufficient supplies of hygiene materials and are they well placed?

COVID-19 room designated as downstairs Year 5&6 cloakroom in old building. Each classroom also has stock of PPE in case of developing scenarios. Sanitising stations set up throughout the school

8

Has the cleaning regime been regularly re-assessed and, if necessary, revised to high risk areas such as toilets, door handles, switches, hand rails and regularly used hard surfaces?

Daily cleaning schedule updated, with key areas (door handles, bins, toilets being cleaned at regular intervals during the school day)

The school is cleaned every evening by an external cleaning company.

In addition to this;

Class teachers will regularly wipe down surfaces, equipment within their classroom bubble

RP will wipe down handles, switches, banisters etc in all public areas three times a day. 7:30am, 10:30am and 1:30pm

Toilet areas will also be cleaned on a regular basis throughout the day

RP to empty classroom and office bins at 10:30am and 1:30pm

Outdoor areas, walkways and corridors to be jet washed on a regular basis

9

What precautions are being used to keep shared equipment hygienic?

“Sitting” carpets in classrooms and soft furnishings have been removed. 

Water fountains turned off. 

Where possible avoid all use of shared resources, eg children to supply their own recorders. Daily clean of all surfaces.

Only shared resources that can be easily cleaned after use with soapy water or put through the dishwasher will be allowed

Pupils will have a designated area within their classroom bubble. The classrooms have been redesigned to ensure that each pupil area is 2m apart. Pupils will be allocated resources for their use only within their designated work area

10

Are high risk areas being regularly monitored for hygiene?

Yes, cleaning rota in place

Cleaning sign off sheets implemented

11

Are contingency plans in place for the transition to full opening (or re-closing) including rapidly sharing decisions?

Yes, ongoing

12

Are all the risks identified properly mitigated and regularly re-assessed?

Yes

 

Pupils, Parent and Staff Risk Assessment in the COVID-19 Environment

Risk

Control Measures / Remarks / Notes

1

Are communication channels working and being reviewed? Email, website etc

Yes

2

Is there a robust feedback and reply system to ensure best practice and two way communications for pupils, parents, staff and proprietors?

See above 1 - yes

3

If there is a member of the school nominated to be responsible for daily COVID-19 matters are their contact details known and are they on-site?

SS on site

JP also monitoring all incoming emails and available on phone

4

Who is responsible for virus response planning and coordination

JP

5

Is there a system to communicate with parents and staff that have not returned to school for fear of infection?

Yes - email

6

Who has travelled where: other than home and school? 

Standard procedures for travel and advice are understood. Where an issue is raised the Headteacher will take appropriate action

7

What are and have the hygiene rules set by the school been adhered to by pupils, parents and staff? 

Enhanced personal hygiene for pupils, parents and staff

Cleaning hands more than usual - washing hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap, and dry them thoroughly or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring all parts of the hands are covered.

Ensuring good respiratory hygiene and promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.

Hand sanitising stations in every classroom bubble and on entry and exit to the school.

Reminders through verbal communication and posters displayed around the school site

8

Are all staff trained and regularly updated in COVID-19 symptoms, SD and how these rules apply to teaching?

Yes

9

Is school transport operating to reflect SD, hygiene, PPE and cleaning arrangements?

No transport being used

10

How is Registration throughout the day managed including temperature / health checks?

Pupils are registered twice daily. Due to the small size of the school all children are fully monitored by class teachers. Non-contact thermometer available on site.

11

Are all spaces configured to SD rules?

Yes – areas of congestion will be taken out of use as far as is practicable.

Pupils to work in smaller classroom bubbles no larger than 15 pupils

Timetables have been reorganised so that only one classroom bubble uses the playground or Early Years area at one time

Packed lunches will be eaten in classroom bubbles 

No assemblies

No breakfast, after school care or extra curricular clubs

12

Are learning and games spaces configured to SD rules?

Yes, class teachers will adapt as necessary/per activity

13

Are different age groups catered for in terms of timetabling, length of the school day and exposure to other age groups.

Only N, R, 1 and 6 at present.

The Year 6 classroom bubble will be in the school hall

14

Is there a system in place to deal with bereavements, trauma, anxiety, behavioural issues?

Yes



Pupil and Staff - Safety Risk Assessment in the COVID-19 Environment

Risk

Control Measures / Remarks / Notes

1

Are Safeguarding, code or practice, staff handbook policies been updated, regularly reviewed and shared?

Yes – on website and within the staff policy folders located in the wwsch.net google drive

2

Are the DSL and ADSL easily contacted and their contact information known to all.

Yes

3

How are new staff and pupils inducted and has the registration and recruit process been adapted to ensure compliance?

No new staff planned, however if required appropriate training and recruitment guidance will be followed

4

Are sporting, play and SD rules clear to staff and pupils?

Yes

5

Are drama, dance and music activities applying SD rules?

Initially no drama, dance or music activities. 

6

How are staff meetings and staff rooms regulated in terms of space, equipment, resources (copiers, kettles, biscuits etc) timings, SD and purpose?

The staff room has been rearranged to ensure 2m social distancing

Increased cleaning where necessary. 

Staff meetings presently via Google Meet

7

Are all security and access systems regularly checked, updated and (where necessary) re-coded?

Yes

8

Are drop-off and pick-up procedures, in/out routes shared, understood and applied?

Yes

Each classroom pod will dropped off and picked up at different times to ensure social distancing

9

Are all spaces configured to SD rules?

Yes – areas of congestion will be taken out of use as far as is practicable.

10

Do classrooms reflect SD layout, PPE, screening and regular cleaning rules.

Yes

Classrooms have been redesigned.

PPE and cleaning stations for staff can be easily located within each classroom bubble

11

Can staff manage, whilst in the transition phase, both in school and remote learning?

Use of Google G-Suite works well, however problems may be faced when returning to school if some children remain at home and expect to be taught on G-suite whilst a member of staff is delivering a lesson in school

12

Are mealtimes going to pose SD conflicts, provide appropriate nourishment? 

Children to be sent in with a nutritious packed lunch with limited “treats” but with healthy break time snacks. Meals will be eaten in the classrooms, or outside (weather and SD permitting)

 

Medical Risk Assessment in the COVID-19 Environment

Risk

Control Measures / Remarks / Notes

1

Is there anyone in addition supervising the normal Medical procedures?

Small number of people in school allows concerns and monitoring to be quickly raised and identified

2

Are there sufficient staff to deal with temperature testing, isolating suspect COVID-19 cases, outside appointments and normal medical issues?

Yes, escalation to end at the school office (RP) who will make the final decision.

3

Have medical policy, procedures and appropriate response to the spectrum of medical issues been revised and shared?

See 1. above

4

Is the medical room properly equipped?

Yes – if a child needs isolating through Covid-19 this is now in a separate area of the school which is supervised (Year 5 & 6 cloakroom). Parents to be immediately called for collection and Covid-19 guidance followed

Other illnesses or injuries will be treated as before in the medical area within the school office

5

What has the school decided is the level of PPE required for pupils and staff and are they trained as to their purpose, use, care and disposal?

School will follow DfE guidance

6

Is the school aware of all pre-existing medical conditions?

Yes, parents should update of any ongoing changes

7

Who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is it recorded? (for elimination purposes)?

A list has been created – no immediate risk

8

Who has come into contact with anyone tested positive to COVID-19 and is it recorded?

A list to be formulated on the return of children

9

Who has been sent home with COVID-19 symptoms (a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath?

Currently nobody. In March 2020 some families stayed away as a precaution.

10

Is there regular dialogue with those that have suffered from COVID-19 and / or are isolated at home?

Yes

11

If there is a separate area for temperature testing, holding and isolation areas are they easily identified and regularly cleaned?

Yes –COVID-19 room.

12

Is temperature testing safe, reflects SD rules, recorded and kept appropriately.

Yes – no-contact thermometer held on site. All ongoing medical reports held by the office

13

If emergency services are called is there a well understood procedure and cleared routes in and out?

Yes

14

Are staff and pupils regularly supervised and checked to ensure they are complying with hygiene rules and the use of PPE?

Yes - weekly reminders

15

If essential work is required on site are contractors properly registered, inducted, supervised and temperature checked?

No immediate essential work is planned using contractors

16

What is the policy on washing school clothes so as to prevent infection?

Usual hygiene procedures apply – parents should send in children in each day in clean clothes

 

Support Staff Risk Assessment 

Risk

Control Measures / Remarks / Notes

1

Are Support Staff briefed on changes regularly?

Yes

2

Do Support Staff have the appropriate PPE, cleaning materials and training?

See above – as directed by DfE

3

Are cleaning regimes reviewed and inspected regularly and conforming to revised hygiene rules?

Yes

4

Are all security and access systems regularly checked, updated & re-coded

Yes

5

Have reconfigured areas, zones, routes hampered fire exits and routes?

No

6

Are fire and other emergency procedures  reconfigured where necessary, routes clear and regularly inspected?

Yes

 

Facilities Management Risk Assessment 

Risk

Control Measures / Remarks / Notes

1

Heating system including fuel levels sufficient?

Yes

2

Gas supply, venting and valves?

All checked and appropriately maintained

3

Electrical tests up-to-date including emergency lighting and PAT?

Carried out as per policy

4

Water testing for temperature, flow and legionella in date for test?

Carried out monthly as per policy

5

Fire Alarm panel, system and extinguishers in date and serviced?

This is tested weekly as per policy. All equipment is operational and service history up to date.

6

Have waste procedures been reviewed?

Yes 

7

Are pest control services recorded,  deficiencies identified and actioned?

Yes – where applicable