Covid-19 - Protecting staff and children when returning to school

May 20, 2020

Recent government announcements reveal that a staggered return for key year groups across primary and secondary looks likely to begin after the half term break, with close monitoring of the level of Covid-19 infection thereafter.

This is fantastic news for the education sector but naturally, health and safety continue to be the number one concerns for many schools, nurseries and colleges. We have had numerous calls and emails from our school partners, asking how they can support the return with safety equipment, PPE and cleaning supplies. Our latest blog post sets out our top tips for stocking up on everything you need to ensure a safe return period.

  1. Hand washing is still key

The Department for Education recommends washing hands in warm water with an antibacterial soap, for at least 20 seconds, at regular intervals throughout the day. Where warm running water is not available in the classroom, hand sanitiser should be used.

Sanitising stations can be set up at the entrance and exit points to all schools and it is advisable to have children and staff sanitise their hands when entering and exiting the school building and classrooms.

We have a range of signs and posters about handwashing to help.

  1. Adopt a ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach

In addition to catching coughs and sneezes in tissues and binning them as soon as possible, the government now also recommends the emptying of bins several times a day.

  1. PPE should be provided for staff in certain circumstances

Many of the schools we work with are stocking up on PPE ahead of the return. A robust PPE kit should include surgical, fluid resistant face masks, single use aprons and gloves. Face shields may also be helpful for frontline staff such as receptionists and staff greeting children at the beginning of the day, or supervising pick up.

  1. Get your medical kit up-to-date

Lockdown is the perfect time to review your medical supplies. Check all of your first aid products for expiry dates and throw away anything that is out of date, as this could prove inefficient when needed. Our First Aid Section is packed full of everything you need to replenish supplies before the return.

We have had several enquiries from schools about upgrading their medical kit thermometers to help monitor spikes in temperature. We have just introduced a new infrared, digital thermometer, perfect for measuring temperatures safely.

  1. Clean surfaces and equipment regularly

Government guidelines recommend that surfaces and equipment are cleaned more regularly than usual, with cleaning taking place between group uses for shared spaces. Disinfectant wipes are a good option for spot cleaning, whilst a strong antibacterial, all-purpose cleaner would suit deeper cleaning tasks.

  1. Use clear signage to define expectations
    The DfE has determined that social distancing measures should be maintained in schools, following the return. This is no mean feat, but the challenge could be lessened with the correct signage. Our range of signs and posters and floor markings can be viewed in this helpful downloadable form
  1. One-way systems and signs
    The DfE have suggested that main corridors, halls and shared spaces within the school building, be adjusted to encourage social distancing. Our range of dividers, cones and hazard marking tapes could help with this.

 At Paper Plus, we have been working with nurseries, schools and colleges for over 20 years and we are here to support you, whatever challenges may lay ahead. Our friendly team is available via email or over the phone on 01444 238050 to help guide you through these difficult times and ensure you have everything you need to protect the wellbeing of your staff and children.

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