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Ways to make schools safer without closing them

(501 Posts)
noblegiraffe Sat 24-Oct-20 13:05:07

Because I am so bored of the misrepresentation and lies going on on this site by people who shout down anyone who raises concerns about the current situation in schools as 'wanting schools to close indefinitely'. The people lacking in imagination who seem to insist that either things carry on as they are (with hundreds of thousands of kids not in school due to the spread in infection), or that schools close and there's nothing in between that can possibly be done to make things safer.

So here's my list, mostly copied from another thread:

We could start with an effective test and trace system, which we were told was essential for the safe re-opening of schools, but we opened without.

We could move onto making sure that all classrooms have windows. And then that those windows open. A national WEAR A VEST campaign to stop parents and kid complaining that it's cold. Germany have just invested a large amount of money in improving ventilation in schools, the UK should follow them.

Masks. Why do the government keep insisting they're not needed in corridors (from the comfort of a socially distanced parliament) and that it's impossible to use them in classrooms when the rest of the world seem to manage? What lessons can we learn from the international experience?

Marquees/covers on the playgrounds so that kids aren't inside for wet break. I know that wet break caused a whole year group to be sent home in a local school as it was uncontrolled indoor close contact.

For it to be mandatory (not simply 'where possible') that classrooms are arranged so that teachers are 2m from the kids when teaching. If smaller class sizes are needed to facilitate this, then solutions must be found even if the government needs to pay money for bigger spaces.

Parents to be supported/sanctioned to avoid kids being sent into school with symptoms or when they're supposed to be isolating.

The government to update its list of symptoms for children requiring a test to include the main ones that children experience, instead of the adult symptoms which they mainly don't.

Regular testing in schools, particularly when there are outbreaks, to enable more effective isolation.

Vulnerable kids to be allowed the option of staying at home. Schooling could be provided by Oak Academy (why spend millions on it and not use it?) and the army of 'catch-up tutors' to provide feedback on work (or ECV teachers also permitted to stay at home)

Any other suggestions?

OP’s posts: |
SmileEachDay Sat 24-Oct-20 13:16:14

Cap class sizes at 15/20 depending on the space available.

headstrong27 Sat 24-Oct-20 13:19:52

The school DB works at wear masks in corridors & have windows open. Also have plastic gazebos.

As far as I'm
aware children don't have to volunteer test results even if positive, which is not ideal.

How do you make classrooms bigger though if the schools are small?

SmileEachDay Sat 24-Oct-20 13:21:06

Mandate masks for all in corridors.

Al students to be outside every break/lunch. Parents to be supported in ensuring appropriate clothing is available.

Outdoor spaces created to be used for lessons wherever possible.

Drop KS1/2 SATs/ phonics tearing etc so teachers can modify curricula to suit outdoor learning.

noblegiraffe Sat 24-Oct-20 13:21:51

How do you make classrooms bigger though if the schools are small?

Use other spaces like the government told schools that they weren't allowed to do even if offered for free. The NEU want Nightingale Schools.

OP’s posts: |
SmileEachDay Sat 24-Oct-20 13:22:40

How do you make classrooms bigger though if the schools are small?

You can’t. You either need additional spaces or smaller groups.

Whyarewehardofthinking Sat 24-Oct-20 13:22:57

Blended learning. I'm secondary and in Manchester; we have no space to make class sizes smaller so we need blended learning. All clases Y9 and over could be in school for 2/3 days a week, and home learning for 2/3 days a week. We could plan to make the home learning effective adn deliver content when they are in. I would have the Y11 and Y13 students for the 3 days a week in school.

We will also have space for vulnerable students and those with no facilities to learn at home; all of our students have a Chromebook however and we bough many mobile data dongles last time.

The Government will not pay for more facilities; they won't even pay for additional cleaning and the thousands of masks we are buying weekly (as parents can't or won't provide them).

Every student in my school has now had isolation time at home due to cases; distancing the students in school is genuinely the only way for schools to be open consistantly. What I have outlined above is what our plan actually is. We have done everything else possible in our school incuding zones, one way systems, staggered starts and breaks, but we are still having cases and they are still being found in more than one year group.

noblegiraffe Sat 24-Oct-20 13:24:39

SmileEachDay

*How do you make classrooms bigger though if the schools are small?*

You can’t. You either need additional spaces or smaller groups.

If vulnerable kids were allowed to stay at home then this would facilitate smaller class sizes.

We could use Ofsted inspectors to check that they are receiving an appropriate education at home.

OP’s posts: |
HappyDinosaur Sat 24-Oct-20 13:25:28

You cannot teach young children effectively by remaining 2 metres away. Also, if classes are split into smaller groups who will teach them?

SmileEachDay Sat 24-Oct-20 13:26:41

You cannot teach young children effectively by remaining 2 metres away. Also, if classes are split into smaller groups who will teach them?

This is a thread for ideas, Happy

How do you think we can make schools safer?

Glitterynails Sat 24-Oct-20 13:29:16

Provide funding for additional teachers so that schools who have spare space can make classes smaller.

Also provide funding so that vulnerable staff are not forced to work in crammed classes!

HipTightOnions Sat 24-Oct-20 13:33:10

Let those schools/classes/teachers/pupils for whom blended learning would work, do it. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

yomellamoHelly Sat 24-Oct-20 13:35:34

Gut says two weeks in school and then two off. (Having seen the kids round here, though, they'd all be out having a whale of a time all together.....)
Otherwise I don't know how schools can be made safer. It's just the wrong environment given what's going on.

Nix32 Sat 24-Oct-20 13:37:43

Give me some ideas about how I comfort an upset 4 year old from 2m away please. Or how I get a reluctant 4 year old inside without holding their hand or spending a long time cajoling them.

Remmy123 Sat 24-Oct-20 13:39:01

I don't see the point of her threads .. instead of having endless threads with the same 'ideas' maybe write to your local MPs? Because let's face it- no one is reading on here that can change anything!

noblegiraffe Sat 24-Oct-20 13:39:57

Nix32

Give me some ideas about how I comfort an upset 4 year old from 2m away please. Or how I get a reluctant 4 year old inside without holding their hand or spending a long time cajoling them.

Why don't you give ideas about how that interaction can be made safer?

My post is from a secondary perspective and I don't regularly have to hold children's hands.

OP’s posts: |
SmileEachDay Sat 24-Oct-20 13:41:25

I don't see the point of her threads

You’re under no obligation to read them. If people want to write to their MP, they may well pick up some good ideas from a thread like this.

headstrong27 Sat 24-Oct-20 13:41:40

* Use other spaces like the government told schools that they weren't allowed to do even if offered for free. The NEU want Nightingale Schools.*

So you mean build new schools? not really a quick fix

noblegiraffe Sat 24-Oct-20 13:42:24

Remmy123

I don't see the point of her threads .. instead of having endless threads with the same 'ideas' maybe write to your local MPs? Because let's face it- no one is reading on here that can change anything!

'her threads'?

Who is 'her'? confused

Maybe this thread will provide people with ideas to write to their MPs about. There seem to be quite a few people out there who have literally no idea about any options between schools open as they are, and schools closed indefinitely.

OP’s posts: |
SmileEachDay Sat 24-Oct-20 13:42:39

So you mean build new schools? not really a quick fix

Nightingale hospitals went up extraordinarily fast.

bodgeitandscarper Sat 24-Oct-20 13:42:44

I agree that schools need to be much safer, all the op's suggestions would be helpful. I'd like to add better hand sanitising facilities. North Yorkshire have banned hand gels in schools and the regular hand washing just isn't happening. Surely there is an alternative that schools could provide for pupils to use?
Also windows that actually open would be good.

SmileEachDay Sat 24-Oct-20 13:43:40

North Yorkshire have banned hand gels in schools

Really? Why?

headstrong27 Sat 24-Oct-20 13:44:01

I guess it's very location specific. My dc are in different schools, 1 case per school, my dc unaffected. Same for DHs school.

noblegiraffe Sat 24-Oct-20 13:44:14

headstrong27

* Use other spaces like the government told schools that they weren't allowed to do even if offered for free. The NEU want Nightingale Schools.*

So you mean build new schools? not really a quick fix

Er, Nightingale Hospitals?

Apparently getting the army involved in construction really speeds up matters.

They don't have to be permanent solutions.

OP’s posts: |
Aroundtheworldin80moves Sat 24-Oct-20 13:44:31

Come up with viable back up plan for Primary schools now instead of scrambling one together.

There will be a significant proportion of Primary pupils who will need childcare if schools close or go part time. So work out a way to provide that now.

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