All schools must be supported and resourced to have in place the required practical safety measures recommended by the Government prior to the return of pupils to schools in September.
A survey of 9,000 NASUWT members in England on the plans for the return to school found that the majority of respondents' schools have safety plans in place for September, including on social distancing, minimising contact between groups of pupils, increased cleaning, and hygiene measures. However, there are still a significant number of schools which have not yet confirmed to members that they have in place effective plans or measures in place.
The survey found that:
- 73% said their school has an effective plan to minimise the number of contacts that a pupil has during the school day;
- 72% said their school has arrangements in place to ensure pupils and staff clean thier hands more regularly during the school day;
- 67% said their school has a plan in place to ensure that anyone who has Covid symptoms does not attend school;
- 62% said their school has a plan in place to ensure enhanced cleaning by trained staff.
Of particular concern was the finding that three in ten of those who completed the survey said they believe budgetary constraints will affect their schools’ ability to reopen safely.
It is important that schools are supported fully to address the practical requirements needed to reopen safely to pupils in September. The NASUWT has been lobbying the Education Minister for action to ensure that where schools need additional resources, ministers give priority to ensuring that schools are able to reopen fully without cutting corners on safety
Employers should make sure risk assessments have been completed and safety measures are in place so that all staff and pupils can feel safe and confident in returning to work.
Where members are concerned about their safe return to work they should complete the NASUWT's self-audit checklist which is designed to support them to engage with their employer to ensure that any safety concerns are addressed and resolved ahead of the return to the workplace.
If members are not assured that their school has or will have appropriate mitigation measures in place for reopening they should contact the NASUWT for further help.