Lockdown Two: What do teachers need to know?

Overview

The Department for Education (DfE) has published updated information to support schools during the second national lockdown in England. The second lockdown came into force on Thursday 5 November and will last until Wednesday 2 December.

The updated information is only short in length but provides some clarification on important topics.

The DfE states that schools continue to remain open for all children and young people as they have since the start of the autumn term for the duration of the national restrictions. It has already published ‘Guidance for full opening: schools’ which we reference below which provides detailed guidance for schools.

In this article, we cover some of the highlights from the guidance and point to additional information to support. We will be able to update this content if any changes are made to government guidance over the next couple of weeks.

What is the situation with face masks?

Secondary schools

The DfE explains that in schools with pupils in year 7 and above, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained. This was already the case for pupils in year 7 and above, and staff and visitors for those schools that were in areas where local alert levels were ‘high’ and ‘very high.’

The DfE notes that some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings and it expects adults and pupils to be sensitive to those needs. Face coverings should also be worn by pupils in year 7 and above when travelling on dedicated school transport to secondary school or college.

Primary schools

In primary schools and education settings teaching year 6 and below, there is no change to the existing position. It is not mandatory for staff and visitors to wear face coverings. In situations where social distancing between adults in settings is not possible (for example when moving around in corridors and communal areas), settings have the discretion to recommend the use of face coverings for adults on site, for both staff and visitors.

We have written another article summarising additional information about face masks in schools here.

Clinically extremely vulnerable staff 

The DfE explains those individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to work from home and not to go into work. Individuals in this group will have been identified through a letter from the NHS or from their GP, and may have been advised to shield in the past. Staff should talk to their employers about how they will be supported, including to work from home where possible, during the period of national restrictions.

All other staff should continue to attend work, including those living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

Travelling to school

The DfE explains children and young people aged 11 and over must wear a face covering on public transport. Face coverings should also be worn by pupils in year 7 and above when travelling on dedicated school transport to secondary school or college. This does not apply to those who are exempt.

Travel in or out of local areas should be avoided, and parents, carers and staff should look to reduce the number of journeys they make – but travelling to deliver and access education is still permitted.

Staff, children and their parents and carers are encouraged to walk or cycle when travelling to and from school where this is possible, and to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow social distancing to be practised.

School sport with Covid restrictions

The DfE explains schools have the flexibility to decide how physical education, sport and physical activity will be provided whilst following the measures in their system of controls. Competition between different schools should not take place, in line with the wider restrictions on grassroots sport.

Pupils should be kept in consistent groups and sports equipment thoroughly cleaned between each use by different individual groups. Outdoor sports should be prioritised where possible.

Support with your Covid related questions

If you are an Edapt subscriber you contact us for further advice and support if you have any questions about how your school is making relevant adjustments for coronavirus and if you are concerned about your own health and safety.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
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