COVID-19 POLICY, PROCEDURES AND RISK ASSESSMENT
The logic behind these actions, and the need for this note, is the ongoing ‘duty of care’ the Viking Academy Trust 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:
- State of knowledge - the developing knowledge of the virus itself and up-to-date government guidance at the time decisions are made.
- 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 or staff members have more vulnerability to COVID-19 than others.
- 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 viking academy Trust – STATE OF OPERATION
For the purpose of Viking Academy Trust Risk Assessments, a number of stages of operation for schools have been considered:
- Fully Open Business as usual: no travel or trip restrictions.
- Open Business as usual: with caveats – no/limit on visitors or trips.
- Open T: In transition: some teaching in school and some remotely.
- Open K: Key staff and key worker/vulnerable children in school. All other teaching remote.
- Open R: Teaching is all achieved remotely.
- Fully Closed No one on site except proprietors, members of the Viking Leadership Team or premises staff.
We are currently operating at 2. Open Business as usual: with caveats – no/limit on visitors or trips.
RUNNING THE TRUST - 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 constant revision and should include but not be limited to:
- Is Government advice being regularly accessed, assessed, recorded and applied?
- Are staff consulted on the revised risk assessment?
- Is there a system for flagging up deficiencies in the risk assessment and ensuring that changes are introduced?
- Are changes regularly communicated to staff, pupils, parents, visiting contractors/workers (and their employers) and proprietors?
- Are changes reviewed by proprietors?
- Is access to school controlled effectively and are visitor (if allowed) details recorded?
- Have allowances been made for individual staff and pupil members at greater risk?
- Are Social Distancing (SD) and other hygiene rules communicated, understood and applied?
- Are staff and pupils being reminded and checked to ensure they are complying with hygiene and Social Distancing (SD) rules?
- Are there satisfactory arrangements for information instruction, training & supervision to ensure that procedures are implemented and maintained?
- Are there sufficient supplies of hygiene materials and are they well placed?
- Are masks recommended for staff and/or pupils?
- 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?
- Has the catering regime been reassessed and, if necessary, revised?
- What precautions are being used to keep shared teaching equipment (e.g. sporting and musical instruments) hygienic?
- Are high risk areas being regularly monitored for hygiene?
- Are contingency plans in place for the transition to full opening (or re-closing) including rapidly sharing decisions?
- 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:
- What SD rules have the school decided? Are they different for parents, children, children in “bubbles”, activities such as games, drama?
- 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:
- Shields (for face or lecterns, desk separators, staff desks)
- Sanitisers (gel and tissues)
- Medical. Who has:
- Pre-existing medical conditions and are they fully declared?
- Have all vulnerable pupils, parents and staff been identified and recorded?
- Tested positive for COVID-19 and is it recorded? (for elimination purposes)?
- Come into contact with anyone tested positive to COVID-19?
- Travelled where: other than home and school?
- Been sent home with COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change to sense of smell or taste).
- Are plans being considered for school events including plays, concerts, parent and teacher meetings etc
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 Executive Headteacher, Heads of School and other Viking leaders must analyse and then co-ordinate the way ahead. To do this, information from agencies and knowledge of the schools 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 TRUST’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 make arrangements for corona testing. Public Health England (PHE) advice will be sought if and when a positive corona test has been given.
Visitors IN to a Viking 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 guidance stated in our VAT Visitor Risk Assessment / Information leaflet.
Below we will post updates and resources regarding coronavirus.
For support links click the buttons below:
- 26/08/20Please watch this short video and read the attached document below published by the Government about going back to school with lots of useful information you may want to know. If you have any enquiries please contact your school office.Read Full Story