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4 & 5 October 2022

ExCeL LONDON

How can your school stay safe and save money during covid-19 lockdown?

 

For teachers, pupils and parents in the UK at the moment, things are tough. In the wake of another  lockdown, schools are facing some serious challenges. Despite the guidelines, which some feel are  unclear, many schools have no choice but to take in a relatively high volume of students. 

As a result they are now responsible for keeping staff and pupils safe while school continues. But  how do you do that effectively whilst fielding a smaller number of staff and budgets are stretched? 

We’ve assessed the situation and come up with some helpful suggestions below. What is the situation currently facing UK schools? 

We all know about the threat of Covid-19. What many don’t realise is that for schools, the pressure  has heightened as a result of recent lockdown measures. 

Currently guidelines are that children of key workers can attend school. Recent amendments have  stated that where one parent is a key worker and the other is not working, then the child should stay  at home. 

But we know it’s not always that simple and these are still just suggestions. Plus, the list of key or  critical workers has grown significantly since last Spring. 

With almost 40 different roles across 8 sectors, there will be some schools which now have a  disproportionately large number of students in attendance. 

Indeed, because of this increase and the lack of clarity around what is allowed, some schools are  seeing an average of 30% of their pupils in attendance.

 

There is currently no mandated limit on how many students can attend and the number is left up to  the discretion of the school. 

Teachers are vulnerable and not being vaccinated 

The problem is compounded by the lack of availability of school staff. If teachers are unable to work  due to illness or self-isolation then there is a limit to the number of pupils the school can accept. As a  result of this some schools are operating a waiting list. 

Not only this but teachers are not currently on the priority list for vaccination meaning they cannot  continue their roles knowing they are safe. Matt Hancock has recently responded to calls for this to  change, saying that they stand a good chance of being added soon, but as things stand nothing has  changed. 

Student and Teacher safety must be prioritised 

So where does this leave us? 

The situation may not change in the short term and with the threat of the virus likely to stay around  for most of this year, schools must adapt. 

Taking precautions is essential. Fortunately, there are some things you can do. With budgets  stretched due to needing extra supplies to fight against Covid-19 and teacher availability not  guaranteed, hopefully these can help. 

  • Make use of government funding 

If you weren’t already aware, government funding is available for Covid related costs. 

The government is providing some funding for schools unable to cover the costs of Covid-19 supplies  such as cleaning products, sanitiser and PPE.

 

They also have some money allocated to help with extra cleaning costs if more cleaning hours are  needed or external cleaners are employed. 

Head here to find out what is available, whether your school is eligible to claim and how to access  the funding. 

  • Make the most of your hand sanitiser 

One of the biggest costs facing schools is the increased use of hand sanitiser amongst pupils and  teachers. If it’s being used at a high frequency, it doesn’t take long to get through it. So there needs  to be a balance between encouraging use, but avoiding excess costs and wastage. This is key to  ensuring sustainable hand hygiene. 

An effective way of doing this is developing a rhythm and routine in your classes for sanitizing hands.  Making this a part of your day and doing it in a controlled manner means that it is more likely to  have an effect and won’t be wasted. 

For young kids particularly, coming up with a song or story to repeat whilst doing it is a fun way of  increasing compliance and making it more effective. A high-quality sanitiser, either one that has a  high alcohol content (and moisturising qualities) or a non-alcohol alternative that has been tested to  effectively kill viruses, should be used. 

A good sanitiser will effectively kill all known germs quickly and without the need for excessive  dosing. In some cases, hand sanitisers that contain certain active ingredients (such as Benzalkonium  Chloride) can retain its effectiveness for several hours, reducing the need for it to be used as  frequently. 

  • Position your hand sanitiser effectively

 

Placement of your sanitiser dispenser has a big impact on how much it is used and therefore how  effective it is at stopping the spread of infectious disease on your premises. It makes sense that  placing dispensers at boundaries is going to increase the chances that someone will use it. 

Cheeky plug time. Our product PullClean is a door handle with an inbuilt sanitiser dispenser. So, it  fits the bill perfectly. Anyone walking through a door has the option to sanitise their hands. You can  find out more here on how it could work for your school. 

  • Prioritise using the best products 

An area that you could change and will have a big impact is the way cleaning is done in your school. When hiring cleaning staff you have less control over the type of products being used. Using  effective products that have been officially tested to kill known germs is important and worth  looking into. 

If you are unsure whether the products you’re using are effective, you can check them against  official standards here. This is a really useful resource. 

  • Use fogging to disinfect rooms 

Another sure-fire way of having a more effective and less time consuming deep clean is using other  cleaning methods such as fogging. 

Fogging works by releasing a fine mist of disinfectant solution into a room. It then settles and quickly  evaporates, killing the germs and in some cases leaves a residual barrier to stop new germs forming. 

Full coverage is not 100% guaranteed but for the most even application, ensure surfaces are tidy and  not hidden or covered. Yes, this method can be more expensive and will need to be done outside of  school hours but with the time saved and consistent results delivered it’s definitely worth trying. 

Sanitising Anti-viral surface products such asthis one have been formulated to work in fogging  machines and provide long lasting protection.

 

Safety starts at home 

Obviously, the best possible scenario from a safety point of view is that more kids would stay at  home until everyone has been vaccinated. This isn’t always possible though so for the children who  do go into school, there are some things we can do. 

By considering the strategies mentioned above and educating children to develop healthy routines  at home, parents can help them prepare for the new school day. 

Covid-19 has shown just how vulnerable we as a society are to harmful infection. Having effective  permanent infection control measures in place will provide a smarter and safer tomorrow for  students and teachers. If you want a regular source of the latest Covid-safe news, guidance and  information, join our mailing list for more content like this every month. 

We’ll even be running some competitions and deals that you can’t get your hands on anywhere else. Sign up here.