Sunday 25 October, 2020

Ministry of Education issues guidelines for safe reopening of schools

Safe Operation of School Guidelines

Safe Operation of School Guidelines

Seventy-two hours before the official reopening of schools, the Ministry of Education has now released its final safety protocols for teaching and learning in this COVID-19 era.

At present, there has been no update in relation to the readiness of schools, since the Minister asserted that St Giles' Primary will resume in October.

The measures released today (September 18) were created in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, along with stakeholders such as the Barbados Union of Teachers, the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), the Association of Principals of Primary Public Schools and the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools.

With the hope of covering safety from home, to school, during school and after school, these protocols were  developed to ensure that students, teachers, and other staff can conduct educational activities in safe and secure environments.

Some of these protocols include:

PRECAUTIONS FOR UNWELL STUDENTS
• Students who are unwell must stay at home.
• Staff and parents of students must inform the principal about any illness.
• Any student who exhibits signs of illness during class or while on the school compound must be sent/taken to the designated isolation area.
• Notify the parents of the student immediately.
• Follow the national protocols where students display any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (for example fever, dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of sense of smell or taste). Parents must keep their children at home, contact a medical doctor, medical facility or call the HOTLINE 536-4500 and explain the situation.
• Parents of children who display symptoms of COVID-19 should call the HOTLINE 536-4500 and explain the situation.
• Recommend that the student be taken to a medical facility.
• Encourage parents and students to follow the guidance from the Ministry of Health and Wellness on what to do when someone in the household is sick and self-isolating.

UNWELL TEACHERS
• All staff members are required to maintain good hand and respiratory hygiene before, during, and after travel between school and home.
• Any staff with any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of sense of smell or taste) must stay at home, contact a medical doctor, medical facility or call the HOTLINE 536-4500 and explain the situation.
• Those with symptoms should call the HOTLINE 536-4500 and explain the situation.
• Staff must inform the principal about any illness.
• The guidance from the health authorities must be followed on what to do when someone in the household is sick and self-isolating.

SAFE OPERATION OF SCHOOLS: GENERAL GUIDELINES
• Those who are unwell must stay at home.
• All individuals on the school compound are required to wear face masks in compliance with the national policy.
• Each school is required to inform parents and students about the measures that are in place to allow for the safe operation and administration of the institution to accommodate classes and other school-related activities.
• Each school is required to explain to the students the importance of ensuring compliance with the protocols.
• Each school is required to reinforce the need for strict compliance with the guidelines for the operation of schools throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Each school is required to take any appropriate action against individuals who are found to be in any breach of the protocols while on the school compound to protect the interest of staff and students.

HYGIENE AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
• Janitorial staff must be provided with adequate cleaning and disinfecting supplies and personal protection equipment necessary to carry out cleaning and sanitizing tasks.
• A record of the cleaning regime of vital areas, such as bathrooms, must be displayed and must be inspected daily by supervisors.
• Janitorial staff must undertake daily and frequent cleaning of high touch / high traffic areas.
• Staff must desist from sharing common office supplies (e.g. pens, staplers)
• Janitorial staff must wear disposable gloves to clean and disinfect all areas.
• Janitorial staff must clean surfaces using soap and water, then use disinfectant.
• Janitorial staff must use an approved disinfectant against bacteria, funguses and viruses (some may be certified to work against coronaviruses)
• Use diluted bleach solutions if appropriate for surface areas.

VENTILATION
• All workspaces, laboratories, specialist rooms, and classrooms must be properly ventilated.
• Keep all doors and windows open, wherever possible.
• Fans must be limited as their use can spread the virus.

RESPIRATORY HYGIENE
• Individuals must cover their mouths and noses and cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bent elbow and immediately discard the used tissue in a bin and perform hand hygiene.
• Contents of bins must be properly disposed of by the janitorial staff and those bins must be disinfected during the school day.
• Posters and signs reminding students and staff they should avoid touching their nose, eyes, or mouth should be strategically placed around the school.
• Bins should be emptied regularly and recorded on the same schedule of the cleaning in the bathrooms and high traffic areas.

 

TRANSPORT TO AND FROM SCHOOL
• For short distances, individuals should walk to the school or travel by bicycle.
• Those who have to take public transportation should wear face masks and comply with the national protocols outlined by the Ministry of Health and Wellness for travel on public service vehicles (PSVs).
• Wherever possible, the windows of the bus should be kept open.

SCREENING
• Perform temperature checks on anyone entering the school using a reliable, infrared thermometer.
• Communicate to staff that temperature screening is to protect them from potential contagion.
• Sensitize designated individuals on the effective way to conduct temperature checks.
• Conduct temperature checks in a consistent and uniformed manner.
• Inform each individual of his/her temperature readings.
• Inform staff that data protection and privacy rules should be respected.

BATHROOM FACILITIES
• Staff and students must wash hands before and after using the toilet with soap and water.
• Toilets must be flushed with closed lids, wherever possible.
• Physical distancing must be respected as much as possible.
• Restrict the number of persons allowed or present in the toilet area at the same time.
• Ensure regular cleaning and sanitising of bathroom facilities and areas especially in the morning and afternoon and throughout the day.
• Cleaning records of bathrooms must be displayed and inspected frequently by supervisors.

AFTER SCHOOL
• Instruct staff and students to wash their hands with soap and water before exiting the school.
• Stagger the exit times for students to avoid congestion.
• Ensure students who are not participating in organized extra-curricular activities do not gather and socialize after school.
• Direct students to promptly leave the compound and proceed to their homes.
• Remind staff and students to wash hands upon arrival at home.
• Remind everyone using public transportation that they must to comply with the national protocol for travel on public service vehicles.

OTHER PRECAUTIONS
• Keep a supply of additional disposable masks on hand in case of any eventuality.
• Keep doors open, wherever possible to reduce contact with the door handles.
• Establish specific procedures for the receipt of goods or supplies.
• Reduce the opportunities for contact between personnel making deliveries and staff.
• Limit the number of staff designated to handle deliveries.
• Staff receiving deliveries are required to wear masks.
• Those receiving deliveries must wash hands immediately after receiving goods
• Delivery personnel must wash or sanitize hands before and after every delivery.
• Plan deliveries in a staggered manner, if possible, to avoid having too many external people present at the school at the same time.
• Disinfect deliveries at point of delivery before entry into the building.
• Provide a place where mail or parcels can be deposited without contact.

ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
In addition to the general protocols for the safe operation of schools, the following additional guidelines must be enforced for the care and safety of students with special needs:
• All Special Needs facilities must conform to all protocols that have been put in place for the safe operation of schools.
• All teachers and teaching aides must be sensitized about the special precautions to be enforced for the care of, engagement, and interaction with special needs children.
• Establish routines for the safe and healthy functioning and engagement of students.
• Janitorial staff must be trained in the correct ways to clean indoor and outdoor facilities for children with special needs.
• All toys, equipment, apparatus, and learning materials must be thoroughly sanitized before use.
• All toys should be washed twice daily. Those that cannot be washed should not be used.
• Sanitize the area where students’ bags and personal items are stored particularly after use.
• Sanitize outdoor/playground equipment before use.
• Cover and frequently sanitize learning resources where feasible and appropriate.
• An adequate supply of “child-friendly” sanitizing agents must be kept at the facility.
• Conduct sensitization sessions for parents on the procedures and guidelines that are enforced for the safe operation of Special Needs schools/facilities.
• Train special needs children in proper hand hygiene, cough etiquette, social and physical distancing and consistently enforce safe practices in the learning environment.
• Teachers and teacher aides must wear facemasks or appropriate face protection at all times when interacting with students who cannot wear facemasks or other face protection.
• Extra special attention should be paid to hand hygiene in class/form rooms and other places of direct contact with students who cannot wear facemasks or other face protection.
• Stagger snack/break and lunch breaks and encourage children to eat meals at their desks.
• Establish guidelines for the safe drop-off and collection of children.

SPECIFIC PROTOCOLS FOR NURSERY SCHOOLS
In addition to the general protocols for the safe operation of schools, the following additional guidelines must be enforced for Nursery schools:
• All Nursery schools must conform to all protocols that have been put in place for the safe operation of schools.
• Enforce the hand hygiene protocol at the points of entry i.e. Staff and students must wash their hands with soap and water or apply an alcohol-based hand sanitizer on entry to the school.
• All teachers and Nursery Aides must be sensitized about the special precautions to be enforced for the care and interaction with young children.
• Janitorial staff must be specially trained in the correct ways to clean indoor and outdoor facilities for young children
• All toys, equipment, apparatus, and learning materials must be thoroughly sanitized before use.
• All toys should be washed twice daily or as frequently as needed. Those toys that cannot be washed should not be used.
• Every child should be supplied with a plastic container with lid for the storage of their personal learning resources.
• Properly label all personal items of students.
• Sanitize the area where students’ bags and personal items are stored particularly after use.
• Sanitized outdoor/playground equipment before use.
• Cover and frequently sanitize learning resources where feasible and appropriate.
• An adequate supply of “child-friendly” sanitizing agents must be kept at the facility.
• Conduct sensitization sessions for parents on the procedures and guidelines that are enforced for the safe operation of the Nursery school.
• Train children in proper hand hygiene, cough etiquette, social and physical distancing, and consistently enforce safe practices in the learning environment.
• Stagger snack/break and lunch breaks and encourage children to eat meals at their desks or designated spaces.
• Establish guidelines for the safe drop-off and collection of children.



Guidelines for Safe Operation of Schools


For a full the list click the gallery above or click below to download.
Click Here to Download Guidelines

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