Infection control: preparing the school environment

Infection control: preparing the school environment

As schools prepare for the return of all pupils, we asked our expert partner, Sharon White OBE, CEO, School and Public Health Nurses Association (SAPHNA) to answer some key questions asked by schools and colleges during our recent infection control webinar. 

Ask the experts - infection control webinar with SAPHNA: 'Preparing the school environment for the return of all pupils'

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How to protect staff and students on return to school - your questions answered.

Sanitising and ventilation

Q: Is there a minimum recommended alcohol content for hand sanitiser?

A: The advice for alcohol content in hand gels is over 60% in the UK or 70% according to the World health organisation. 

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Q: Can Milton be used?

A: Find out which cleaning products can be used from the 'COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home' government page. 

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Q: Our volunteers bring books and games into schools for their sessions. we are limiting the number of books and will only allow them wipeable games. Is this ok? Our volunteer reading helpers go in to read 1-1 with children for half an hour each twice a week.

A: Please visit this website for more information on how to clean IT and other equipment

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Q: Is it safe to have food immediately post using the sanitiser since its having chemical?

A: Find out more information from the HSE guidance 

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Q: I work in a school for the Deaf. How do we wipe down hearing aids, etc?

A: The advice currently is that contact should be reduced. If the school charge and keep the radio aid safe, then only the teacher/ support worker should wear it and it should be limited to only the one member of staff. Where possible the radio aid should be used as a surface mic rather than around the neck.
If the child is responsible for charging and bringing to school it should be used as a surface mic only and handled only by that child.
If necessary, children should have new batteries in aids daily / bi-daily to reduce handling from others.
Children should be encouraged to be responsible for the management of their own assistive equipment.
We are already told we can use wipes to clean the products but they should not saturate the product and they must be left to air dry before use.
Handling should always be minimal but even more so at this time.

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Q: Does every room need a window?

A: Where possible, occupied room windows should be open.

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Q: Should all notices be removed from noticeboards and laminated?

A: There is no specific guidance on this but reducing any surfaces that may harbour a virus is always best practice

Q: Is the use of air conditioning or hand driers?

A: You can continue to use air conditioning in most cases

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A: Hand driers-yes ok to use according to HSE

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A: Find out more about air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus outbreak

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How should schools work with 'Bubbles'?

  • How can we deal with multiple bubbles needing to use changing rooms for PE in a large secondary school?
  • As new students arrive in our alternative provision can the bubble be altered?
  • Some of our children with additional needs access their mainstream class and then an additional room for small groups. This means bubbles are mixing. Is this OK?
  • Should Schools carry out normal procedures for emergency evacuation practice in the new term or should this be adapted for the practice using social distancing or separate groups?
  • Do other students/staff within the bubble need to self-isolate if there has been suspected coronavirus or a confirmed case?

Find out all information from this guidance for full school opening 

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How should schools be using PPE?

Q: Are you able to share link to putting on and using PPE effectively? or video?

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Q:  PPE question - do we have to use different gloves for intimate care and gloves worn for other uses?

A: See section 6 of the governments PPE guidance 

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Also, your community nursing/special school nursing CCG provision can advise further.

PPE in schools

You can find all the information about PPE in schools from the Tes website.

Plus the government safe working in education guidance 

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What risk assessments should schools be doing? 

Q: Will supported reading volunteers be welcome in primary schools if they are from an organisation that has Risk Assessments etc in place?

A: Find out all the information from the government guidance for full opening of schools

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Q:  Will individual risk assessments be required for extremely vulnerable staff?

A:  Find out all the information from the Supporting children and young people with SEND as schools and colleges prepare for wider opening guidance.

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What recommendations do you have for general good practice?

Q:  What can you do if the child you work with has ADHD/ ASD and is very tactile and have a basic lack of understanding?

A: You can find out all the information from these 3 links below

Back to school – a guide for teachers

Help children with SEND continue their education during coronavirus (COVID-19)

More resources for autistic people and families

Q:  How do we accommodate students who have special needs around sensory and need particular toys/ materials to play with?

A: You can find out all the information from the Accessible toys, play and learning guidance on the NHS website. 

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Q:  What is the guidance for music lessons and playing instruments?

A: You can find out all information in the Teaching Music during the Coronavirus Outbreak article and on the Tes website.

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Q:  Are school educational visitors and/or outings possible?

A: Find out all information from the Coronavirus (COVID-19): travel advice for educational settings guidance.

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Q:  What about wrap-around services like after school provisions where children are normally collected by private bus from a couple of the local schools and transported to the ASC provision?

A: Within a risk assessment and with appropriate systems of control, this is possible

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Q: Staff Room - Can staff use a kettle or microwave? Can staff use a staff room if they are 2 metres apart?

A:  Please read the following advice for working safely during COVID-19

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Here are a few more useful links:

How to wash your hands (NHS)

Mental health

PHE E-Bug school zone

Important note:

  • The information given is accurate at the time or writing
  • If you have a query about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to schools and other educational establishments in England, contact the DfE coronavirus helpline on 0800 046 8687. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and weekends 10am to 4pm. If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the hotline.

Infection Prevention and Control in Education course

Now more than ever, it’s important to refresh your knowledge on all the different types of infections that can be spread throughout schools. Our brand new course in partnership with SAPHNA covers everything you need to know to efficiently manage and control the risk of infection. 

Infection Prevention and Control in Education course

Find out more >>

You can also watch a recording of our recent webinar, Infection control: preparing the school environment for the return of all pupils. Hosted by EduCare and Sharon White OBE (SAPHNA).

Watch recording

Get in touch to find out more

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