Risk assessments for school reopening

Before the lockdown, catastrophic errors were made by schools advising pupils, parents and staff that they were “low risk” (based on advice from Health Protection Scotland) - even in cases where there were suspected / confirmed cases of coronavirus in the school community. This approach was arguably in breach of the public sector duty of equality and human rights legislation, eg children who are vulnerable or live in a household with vulnerable family members (diabetes, asthma etc) have a right to have the risk to them and/or their families properly assessed and measures put in place to safeguard them and protect vulnerable family members.

Discussions around school reopening plans include little mention of how schools will ensure the safety of ALL members of the school community, or even of the need for schools to conduct more accurate risk assessments for ALL of the pupils in their care and their families (plus of course staff who may have varying health needs). Deferring to “one size fits all” advice rather than properly looking after the needs of all pupils and their families is not a suitable way forwards.

Why the contribution is important

Even during a pandemic, human rights legislation and the public sector duty of equality are important.

by heatherl on May 08, 2020 at 03:56PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.0
Based on: 4 votes


  • Posted by TMcCurrach May 08, 2020 at 16:41

    Schools remained open for the vulnerable. Education is a vital service and while many can support their children at home many families cannot and these children are being severely disadvantaged. There are good examples in Europe how to manage return for different children at different times mss as obtaining similar contact groups. We cannot underestimate the damage to some of our young people in missing their education.
    Equally our economy cannot survive indefinitely and parents need there children in school to go to work. We cannot underestimate the impact of poverty and stress in families if we end up back with huge numbers of unemployed who cannot pay their mortgages, rent or bills.
  • Posted by HighlandLass May 08, 2020 at 17:48

    We need a phased approach back in to education. Primary children need to return to school - it's not easy but how about all primary children from a household return for 1 week then home school for 1 week this could support a return to employment week on week off. Secondary children could do the same however not so dependant on an Adult for care. Teaching may be on a numbers basis with children from several age groups in the one setting spread out socially distancing as much as possible. Deep clean every weekend for the next group. The statistics of vulnerable children in the UK is shocking.
  • Posted by MAnderson May 08, 2020 at 19:15

    Cannot see how schools can currently consider opening with acceptably low risk to pupils. Average class sizes would not allow social distancing in most classrooms even if numbers were reduced by alternating pupils attending. How would it be possible to supervise children going to the toilet which is a big issue in infant departments. Most parents are fearful of return to school. Whilst agreeing wholeheartedly of the importance of education, is it not possible with modern technology to make better use of lessons at home lead by classteachers on line with school attendance for more vulnerable children continuing. Local current practice is mixed with some schools delivering very impressive daily lessons and links with pupils, can this not be replicated.
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