As children go back to school for the autumn term, educational institutions (including primary schools, secondary school, colleges, college for disabled, and special education settings) are putting in place measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, a lot of parents have raised various concerns.
What if My Child Has a Cold or Cough?According to the National Health Service, any child that has mild cold-like symptoms should continue going to school. Blocked or runny noses and sore throats don't fall among the symptoms of coronavirus. The Scottish Government has said that in case of a heavy cold, then the child may need to take a day or two off school to recover. But, if your child has a new continuous cough or fever or experiences a loss/change in their sense of taste or smell, then the child may be infected with the coronavirus. If your child is showing these symptoms, then they should remain at home and isolate themselves for a minimum of 10 days and get tested. All other household members should also self-isolate for at least 14 days from the time when your child first shows signs of illness.
Are Pupils Allowed to Hug?Getting young children to social distance can be quite challenging, and this has been recognised in guidance for schools. "Bubbles" or small groups the kids will mix in are encouraged in England to counteract the fact that they are very unlikely to keep 2m apart. However, pupils in Scotland and Wales are exempt from the 2m distancing rule based on the reasoning that children are less likely to comprehend the concept of physical distancing.
Will Children Need to Face Coverings at School?In England, pupils in Year 7 and above that reside in a local lockdown area will be required to wear face coverings indoors when not in class. In addition, secondary school headteachers in the country have been given the power to introduce masks. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, pupils in secondary school will have to wear masks in between classes.
What Measures Will Schools Be Following?Nick Gibb, England school minister, says that over the summer period, schools went the extra steps to make themselves safe. These steps include the introduction of one-way systems, hand sanitizer stations, and staggered break times. All schools are required to follow these rules at all times:
- Pupils with COVID-19 symptoms, or with family members showing symptoms, will need to be kept away from school.
- Hand-washing should be more frequent.
- Improved cleaning procedures.
- Maintain social distancing wherever and whenever possible.
- Practice proper hygiene in regards to the use of tissues for coughs and sneezes.