Schools across Wales will be welcoming back students between the age of three and seven after the February half-term.
This has come with much dispute between teacher trade unions and parents through the increased risk of students now mixing again after learning from the safety of their homes.
It has been a difficult few months of adapting to a new normal for students and staff, as they found themselves going back to school in September 2020 after the summer holidays and the first UK lockdown, only to have to return to homeschooling a few months later.
It is this disruption to learning that teaching professionals will be looking to avoid ahead of re-opening their doors.
What has changed this time around? New mutations and strains of COVID are being discovered all the time, and it’s important that we are able to identify and distinguish the symptoms and what new risks they might pose to your staff and students.
This phased opening will see further support from the Welsh government who are providing twice-weekly testing for staff, and also an additional £5 million to local authorities to invest in key items they need to keep their premises safe.
But what additional measures can you take to create a safe working environment and remove the worry of COVID outbreaks and school closures further down the line?
To help you instill confidence with staff, students, and parents we have shared a few ideas to help you create better practices within your school:
Use a commercial cleaning service
Welcoming students back with the reassurance your school and all its facilities are as clean as they can possibly be. Many schools have outsourced for a full-time cleaner to help maintain these cleaning standards.
Integrating cleaning and disinfection into your daily plan
Cleaning and disinfecting reduces the risk of spreading infection, by removing and killing germs on surfaces people frequently touch. You should consider cleaning and disinfecting more frequently at your school to reduce the spread of viruses like COVID-19.
Provide the correct training
Ensure that staff and teachers, who are using disinfectants read and understand all instruction labels. You should also consider providing an instruction manual.
Develop a schedule for increased, routine cleaning and disinfection
Modify your standard procedures to accommodate more frequent cleaning and disinfection. Everyone plays a part in keeping themselves and others safe!
Identify frequently touched surfaces
Focus your cleaning and disinfection on frequently touched objects such as doorknobs, light switches, classroom sink handles, countertops.
Limit the use of shared objects
Ensure adequate supplies to minimise the sharing of high-touch materials. You can do this by assigning each student their own art supplies, equipment, or limit the use of supplies and equipment to one group of students at a time and clean and disinfect between use.