Should we take children’s temperature when they arrive at school?

Some special schools are taking the temperature of all children on arrival at school each day.  Any child with a temperature over 37.5 and/or has symptoms of a cold or flu is sent home.  If this is found to be the case during the day the child is safely isolated in school until their parent/carer can collect them.

This helps staff to keep safe so that the school is able to remain open for the children of key workers.

Some of the children in my school regularly need to be physically restrained for their own and others protection-should they be in school?

Physical interventions in the usual school environment are made to protect the child from harming themselves and other people in schools.  The key factor to consider in the light of Covid 19 virus, is the safety of the child and the staff.  Leaders, including the SENCO should have undertaken a risk assessment on each child coming into school at this time to ensure their SEND needs and appropriate ratios can be met.  This includes having appropriately trained staff on site.

Adjustments to the environment to allow children enough safe space as well as the reduction of academic pressure in the school day may remove much of the need for physical restraint keeping the child and staff members safer from cross-infection.  These are general good practice measures at any time for reducing the need for physical restraint.

Where leaders consider there is too much risk to staff from having to regularly restrain a pupil they should ask the local authority to work with the school and the family to provide additional support.

Some of our pupils need personal care (changing etc).  What can staff do to keep safe when doing this?

Whenever intimate personal care is provided staff must wear gloves and aprons; this should be considered a priority for personal protective equipment.  Whether staff wear facemasks for undertaking personal care should be considered in individual risk assessment and discussion with the staff team.  Some special schools, who are screening pupils by taking their temperature on arrival consider, in conjunction with school nurses, wearing masks to be unnecessary.  However, advice from medical professionals in your school may differ.  It is important that this is negotiated with staff providing personal care so that all staff remain safe.

How can we keep the school building clean and safe?

Because of the reduced number of pupils some special schools are only using some of the building space they have at certain times which allows for cleaning of the other spaces.  Activity spaces are regularly rotated to allow for cleaning of equipment as well as toilets, floor etc.

As much outdoor play is encouraged as possible (maintaining social distancing) for all children attending school at this time.  Children are also encouraged and supported to wash their hands regularly and for 20 seconds and staff should have frequent access to hand sanitiser and washing facilities.