Back to school in Scotland

We need to be getting the message out there better that schools are NOT shut- we are all working so so hard to teach and support families, staff and pupils- those online and those offline during this crisis. We need to talk about getting back to the school building- not about getting back to learning.
It will be impossible to socially distance at a school- I know this from working in the hub schools at the moment. When we re enter the building we need to be able to do it safely and not risk a disrupted education by staff being off ill or pupils being off ill for long periods of time. We must have each school prepared with back up teaching staff to cover illness and to cover social distancing measures.
We need to foget about gathering data and level attained for the next year to allow us to focus on recovery- both of pupils and of staff. We do not need the added pressure of hitting targets or being judged on our data.
Inspectors should commit to coming into support schools in their recovery for the next year- not to come to judge and inspect.
We are working hard- we are working all hours- there is no school bell any more and no switch off times. Do not add to our pressure by data expectations. If you do this we will not be able to emotionally support pupils , staff and families to recover in the way we want to and the way we should.
People over Data- PLEASE !!!!

Why the contribution is important

If this crisis has taught us nothing else it has taught us what we can live without and what we need to live. Some children will have learnt many life skills during this lockdown that cannot be measured. Some children and staff will have felt more confident and comfortable at home and will need help to return to school buildings and the structure of a school day. Let us act as the professionals we are and help everyone recover emotionally before we have to start justifying ourselves again.

by CMFraser on May 10, 2020 at 08:46PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 3.5
Based on: 18 votes


  • Posted by RuthBradley May 10, 2020 at 22:05

    It is not desirable to rush a back to normal model that is not safe
    Both kids and staff need time to recover and adjust.
    Need to intelligently design the interior of school buildings to minimise pressure on the staff to further control kids behaviour.

    Some basics need to be clarified.
    who is being protected?

    Clearly the most vulnerable members of the school system are the staff.

    I am of the opinion that it is not of benefit to the kids to try and too strictly physically distance them from each other. Kids especially young kids do not have the self regulation needed to maintain distancing for long and it would be harmful emotionally and socially. Any infection control system that treats staff and kids on the same footing and trys to slow spread by the kids not being near enough to infect each other is doomed to fail.
    Just one toilet flushed with the seat up sprays the cubicle in potentially infected droplets.
    Just one cough or sneeze in an indoor airspace carries enough droplets to infect a group within 10m.

    I propose an integrated holistic infection control system:

    1) Minimise contamination coming in from outside - have a foot bath outdoors with a suitable agent that is supervised by adult for decontaminating shoes arriving onsite. children change shoes and leave jackets in a Hot Zone entrance way. No bags/books/items carried between home and school. Encourage kids to wear clean set of clothes each day...provide simple tracksuit and hoodie combos if necessary. Train staff in the kind of decontamination systems that healthcare workers operate when coming in and off shift back to their houses.

    2) Segregate the school building into red, amber and green areas similar to healthcare settings. All areas that pupils access designated red; areas that pupil facing staff access designated amber; areas that non-contact staff access designated green. red zone and green zone staff should not be in contact or share items. put up perspex screens if necessary. As much as possible manage building ventilation so that air does not move from red zones to green zones. In red zones remove as much loose items and furniture as possible to facilitate regular deep cleaning. May be necessary to let go of timetabling and original class groupings.

    3) Separate staff into Green Teams and Red Teams. Any staff that are higher risk should be in non-contact areas only. Younger, fitter staff with no underlying health conditions should operate in pupil contact 'Red Teams'. This does not mean red team does all the teaching. An appropriate subject teacher may teach a class remotely (from a computer in Green Zone) while a red team staff member supervises the class and aids pupils to ask for help. Subject lessons may or may not all be similar classes, mixed age and ability groups may suit this better with online learning facilitated by support rom a red team and green team staff member rather than one focal staff point of teaching....classroom equivalent of self checkouts where you call the teacher when you are needing help.
    The benefit of this is that contact between staff is regulated and at risk staff would be less vulnerable to poor outcomes to covid 19

    4) teach all staff and pupils alike a traffic light based system of infection control. Make sure everyone knows routes of transmission. Map the points at which kids and staff will do hand hygiene. Put taped lanes on the floor for kids only separate to staff. Have it clear where kids need to do strict regulated physical distancing and wearing masks (moving from one activity site to another), and where they can relax a bit (outdoors maybe).
    Need to build in the reality that the kids can't be the priority for contagion is the staff that are the priority to make sure infection does not spread. Children of shielders may need to be taught under stricter conditions of infection control, possibly best a a dedicated campus or separate building onsite.
    Can design large scale bubble pods based on the principle of face visors. This is one option I've been considering to allow for staff - pupil contact time without the need for masks. I think this is especially important for young children.
    A bubble pod could be made with sheets of light plastic bend into semicircles and bolted together. I've made a model, can provide details if needed.

    Really important that arbitrary measures are not introduced that do not warrant the effort based on impact on contagio mitigation. Time for thoughtful integrated approach
  • Posted by AlJones May 10, 2020 at 23:35

    Some schools have a very small school roll and can socially distance.
  • Posted by A123 May 10, 2020 at 23:38

    Having worked in school Hubs, I would strongly recommend consulting teachers about layout design of school building and routines that could accommodate children returning to the school. Each school is different, school staff are Brest placed to advise any adaptations needed.
  • Posted by BrunetteWithADegree May 11, 2020 at 00:27

    Whilst the pandemic is still an ongoing battle, let us not forget those children who are unsafe at home and desperately seek a little bit of their safe place. Aware vulnerable children are offered places in the Hub schools however, they are vulnerable for a reason and therefore parental engagement/relationships with schools may be strained.

    The transition years; Nursery to P1 and P7 to S1 surely merit an introduction to their new establishments prior to August? This could be phased and controlled and allow an insight in to the changes that may require to be made for more/other year groups entering the buildings.

    For these reasons, an avenue to opening prior to August should be explored and seriously considered.
  • Posted by DLRiley May 11, 2020 at 09:50

    Education for all should be a top priority. It is clear that not all pupils are able to engage with education in the current format during lock down and this is likely to increase the attainment gap.
    Children are going to have to bear cost of the pandemic in the future, so making schools a safe place for both pupils and staff must be a priority.
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