This is our second part of our update specifically written for schools and students following the pandemic and outbreak of Coronavirus.
As schools open and students start returning and travelling back to the UK to continue their education, the government continues to act to reduce further disruption to children and young adults. 18-year-olds will be treated as children until 6 months after their 18th birthday. This will allow them to get fully vaccinated. Once they complete the full vaccination course (2 doses), they will be subject to the same rules as adults. Should they opt not to get vaccinated, they will be required to self-isolate if identified as a close contact.
The Nathanson Partnership are pleased to provide a summary of the government guidelines. In the three part series, we cover:
- Part 1 – Is it safe to go back to school? Education providers’ requirements
- Part 2 – Control measures : Requirements and recommendations
- Part 3 – Visa and immigration requirements
This information is a “live” document which means that changes could occur at any time and in response to the infection rate. The Nathanson Partnership will continue to monitor the rules and update you.
PART 2 – What are the control measures being put in place?
In an effort to control the spread of the virus, education providers are required to put in place control measures which ensures overall good hygiene, maintaining cleaning regimes, ventilation and to follow public health advice on testing and self isolation. It is also a requirement for them to enure that they manage any confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The government provides clear guidance on :
Ensuring that students clean their hands regularly is a key factor to good hygiene. Schools should provide sufficient facilities and this include soap or hand sanitisers. The government’s “Catch it, Bin it” campaign should still continue as this encourages good hand and respiratory hygiene.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
Most school staff no longer require PPE, but if a child, young person, or student already has routine intimate care needs that involve the use of PPE, the same PPE should continue to be used.
Additional PPE for COVID-19 is only required in a very limited number of scenarios:
- if an individual child, young person or student becomes ill with COVID-19 symptoms and only then if close contact is necessary
- when performing aerosol generating procedures (AGPs)
Detailed guidance on this is available on the Home Office website.
Education providers are required to maintain a robust and regimented cleaning schedule. Regular cleaning is mandatory for common areas and equipment.
With the return of sports days, school plays and events, schools, colleges, universities and any education establishment must ensure that they are well ventilated. They must provide a comfortable teaching and learning environment.
Poorly ventilated areas must be addresses and steps taken to increase the flow of fresh air. This may be through mechanical means e.g. fans, ventilators, etc. or as simple as opening doors or external windows.
MANAGING CONFIRMED CASES
Should an individual develop COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive, it is important for everyone affected to follow Public Health Advice on when to self-isolate and what to do. This includes but is not limited to:
- Quarantine – they should not come into school if they have symptoms, have had a positive test result or other reasons requiring them to stay at home due to the risk of them passing the virus on
- Symptoms – If anyone in the school develops COVID-19 symptoms, however mild, they should be sent home and must follow public health advice.
- Boarders – Boarders should self-isolate in their residential setting or where possible, in their family home.
- Public transport – public transport should be avoided and wherever possible, the student should be collected by a member of their family or household. While waiting to be collected, the student should be left in a well-ventilated room on their own if possible and safe to do so. This room should be cleaned after they have left.
- The household (including any siblings) should follow the PHE stay at home guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
Testing remains an important part of reducing the spread of this virus. Regular testing should still continue especially for those attending external events. Secondary students will continue to undergo two on-site lateral flow tests on days 3 and 5 every week. The government is expected to review this in October. Primary age students will be offered these tests at year 6 or 7.
Those testing positive will be required to self-isolate in line with government guidelines.
It is important to note that the education provider has the right to refuse the pupil in order to protect staff and other students from possible infection.
While attendance is mandatory for all pupils or compulsory school age, the government will review and change these policies in line with the infection and recovery rates in the UK.
- Where the student cannot attend school due to quarantine or self-isolation, the school is required to mark this absence with “unable to attend in circumstances related to coronavirus”.
- If the student is a confirmed COVID-19 case, the absence should be recorded as Code I “illness”
- International students (pupils abroad) who cannot return to the UK will be registered as Code X or Code Y for exceptional circumstances.
The government has published three reports on attendance. Please click here.
Education providers are still required to ensure that students receive the right support when they are self-isolating. They have a duty of care to deliver high-quality remote education. This includes students who are abroad and cannot return or travel to the UK due to border or travel restrictions.
The government recommends that international visits that were previously deferred or postponed could go ahead in the new term. However, there is a caveat. This will be subject to the countries on the travel list i.e. green, amber or red list countries, as issued by the government. Things such as travel insurance, international travel legislation, etc., will need to be considered. Full risk assessments will also be required.
The third part of this series covers important issues such as :
- Travelling from abroad
- Visa exemptions
- Immigration options
Please click here for Part 1: Is it safe to go back to school? or Part 3 : Student visa and immigration requirements