COVID-19 Risk Assessment

This document is based on the template from Surrey County Council for mainstream schools that was prepared in response to the Government’s plans for returning to school. Prior’s Field has used this template to support planning for its full re-opening in the Autumn Term 2020, alongside Government guidance including: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools

The risk assessment was completed by the Head, Tracy Kirnig; the Bursar, Helen Edwardson and the Deputy Head, Andrew Taylor in August 2020. The document has been reviewed with the Designated Health & Safety Governor, Mark Evans and was shared with Governors, staff and parents on 28 August 2020. It will be subject to regular review in line with changing circumstances and any changes to Government guidance.  

Risk A: Awareness of and adherence to policies and procedures 
  • All staff are aware of policies and procedures including, but not limited to, Health and Safety Policy, Infection Control Policy, First Aid Policy, Safeguarding, and Behaviour Policy, all of which have been updated in light of COVID-19 advice received from the Government and other sources; 
  • The updated Behaviour Policy emphasises the need for pupils to adhere to all Coronavirus-related rules and regulations. 
  • All pupils are aware of the new procedures in place and reminded regularly. Signage is also displayed around the school site.  
  • Parents and staff are made aware of the new procedures for infection control in relation to the Coronavirus via letters and emails. Parents are aware that they must not send their child to school if their child develops Coronavirus symptoms or if another member of their household develops Coronavirus symptoms or has a positive Coronavirus test. In both these circumstances the parents/carers should inform the school of this and confirm that they will be following Government self-isolation guidance. The same applies to staff. 
  • Pupils are made aware of the school’s infectious control procedures in relation to Coronavirus and are informed that they must tell a member of staff if they begin to feel unwell. 
  • Staff and pupil confidentiality is followed at all times. This includes withholding the names of staff and pupils with either confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus.  
  • The relevant staff receive any necessary training that helps minimise the spread of infection. 
  • The school keeps up-to-date with advice issued by, but not limited to, the following: DfE; NHS; Department of Health and Social Care; PHE.  
Risk B: Implementing social distancing 
  • Pupils will be organised in year group ‘bubbles’ as per Government guidance. Each bubble will be based in a designated area of the school, which will be identified by a particular colour. This will ensure bubbles remain separate. Pupils in each group will wear a lanyard in the appropriate colour and coloured card will be displayed in the appropriate area to identify the areas of school they may access. Bubbles will remain separate both during the school day and for any after-school activities. 
  • Pupils will go directly to their year base upon arrival in school each morning. There is a specific entrance for each bubble. 
  • Each year group has separate, designated toilets near their year base, identified by the appropriate coloured signage. Pupils may not use a toilet that is assigned to any other year group. 
  • Each year group has a separate, designated outdoor space, with a shaded area provided. Pupils are encouraged to go outdoors as much as possible during their free time. 
  • A one-way system is in operation throughout the school buildings to ensure social distancing can be observed when moving around the site. The one-way system is clearly signposted. 
  • Risk will be minimised by restricting movement around school as much as possible. Lessons will continue as normal with the full curriculum being covered. All theoretical lessons will be taught in the year group bases, with staff moving to students instead of students moving around school. 
  • Practical lessons will take place in specialist rooms, to which students will move following the one-way system. 
  • Practical lessons will finish 5 minutes earlier than theoretical lessons to ensure adequate time for pupils to move to their next lesson safely, following the one-way system. 
  • The use of shared space such as halls is limited and there is cleaning between use by different groups. 
  • PE changing rooms are in limited use for access to sports lockers/minimal changing and will be cleaned between use by different groups. The changing rooms will be kept locked and entry is control by PE staff. As far as possible, the PE Department will organise the use to one year group per day so that one clean at the end of the school day is needed. The need for cleaning be indicated by a sign on the door. Pupils with PE on a particular day will come to school in PE kit. Girls may change in their year bubble area and toilets. This will reduce the use of changing rooms. 
  • Classrooms and other learning environments are organised with desks side by side, facing forwards, and teachers’ desks are situated over 2 metres from student desks.  
  • Where staff need to move between classes and year groups, they will keep their distance from pupils and other staff as much as possible, ideally 2 metres from other adults.  
  • Teachers will remain at the front of the class and will not circulate. Teachers will remain 2 metres away from pupils. Teachers may wear visors if they are unable to consistently remain at a distance of 2 metres from pupils due to the room layout or the practical requirements of the lesson. 
  • Music lessons will take place with Plastic screens in all practice rooms to separate the teacher and pupil. Each practice room will have a supply of hand sanitiser and disposable gloves. Depending on the instrument, face coverings/ visors and/or gloves may be required, and/or a personal mat may be required beneath the instrument during lessons. Pupils are advised of the specific safety equipment they must bring for their instrumental lessons. 
  • Breakand lunches will take place in year group bubbles. Snacks at break/after school will be delivered to the year group bases by catering staff.  For pupils in the First to Fifth Form, lunch will be delivered by catering staff and eaten in year group bases 4 days per week, and in a dedicated area of the Dining Hall 1 day a week between 1.15 and 1.45pm Duty staff allocated to each area and will be trained on the basics of food hygiene by the catering manager. Sixth Form pupils will eat in either a designated area of the Dining Hall between 12.15 and 12.45 each day, or in the Sixth Form House (delivered by catering staff). Except when allocated to eat in the Dining Hall, pupils can choose to eat their lunch in the outdoor spaces assigned to their year group. 
  • Each year group base will have a separate water station where pupils can refill water bottles throughout the day. Water fountains around school are turned off. 
  • Staff will take meals in a separate staff area of the Dining Hall, maintaining a social distance of 2 metres from each other where possible, or 1m+ as a minimum. Staff can access the staff room during the day, with a maximum of 30 people in the room at any time, ideally maintaining a distance of 2 metres in the kitchen area and 1m+ in other areas, between colleagues at all times. Break time snacks for staff will be provided in the Dining Hall to facilitate social distancing at peak times. 
  • Each year group base will have a separate water station where pupils can refill water bottles throughout the day. 
  • Assemblies are delivered within year group bubbles or online, to reduce mixing of groups within school.  
  • Any events such as drama and music performancesand staff meetings, will take place online.  
  • Trips: From the autumn term, schools and colleges can resume educational day trips in the UK but must follow the latest public health guidance and wider guidance for schools and colleges on the actions they can take to reduce risks. Currently advise is against overnight trips in the UK and overseas educational visits. No day trips are currently planned for the first half of the autumn term. Day trips after half term will be reviewed. 
  • Sports fixtures with other schools are suspended following GSA advice (the GSA will review at half term), and all sport will be played within year group bubbles, year groups will not be mixed. 
  • Co-curricular clubs must run separately for each bubble, year groups will not be mixed. 
  • Parents’ drop-off and pick-up protocols are planned so that they minimise adult to adult contact. Parents must remain in their vehicles and drop off their child who will walk into their designated entrance adhering to social distancing rulesParents will not accompany their child into the school buildings and should depart from the site promptly. 
  • Unnecessary items are removed from classrooms and other learning environments where there is space to store it elsewhere. 
  • Soft furnishings, items and equipment that are hard to clean (such as items with intricate parts) are removed. 
  • The school office is open, but parents and pupils have been adviseto contact the office by email or telephone. Parents and Guardians should only come into school if necessary, and by appointment. No forgotten items can be brought into school by parents during the school day. 
  • Should an emergency evacuation of the school or a lockdown be necessary, pupils are expected to follow usual procedures whilst maintaining social distancing. They should not, however, compromise their safety. 
Risk C: Hygiene practice 
    • frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry thoroughly; 
    • wash their hands or use hand sanitiser immediately on arrival at school, before and after eating, and after sneezing or coughing; 
    • Avoid touching their mouth, eyes and nose; 
    • use a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze and use bins for tissue waste (‘catch it, bin it, kill it’); 
  • Posters are displayed throughout the school reminding pupils to wash their hands, including signs in all pupil and staff toilets. 
  • Pupils and staff will use hand sanitiser or wash their hands with soap before and after break times and lunchtimes.   
  • Disinfectant wipes are provided in staff and pupil toilets, with signage instructing individuals to wipe any taps or surfaces after use and place the used wipe in bins. 
  • Classrooms use bins with lids, and these are emptied throughout the day. 
  • Cleaners are employed by the school to carry out daily, thorough cleaning that follows national guidance and is compliant with the COSHH guidelines and the Health and Safety Policy. Additional cleaning is carried out by members of the cleaning team throughout the day. 
  • Surfaces that pupils and staff are touching frequently, such doors, sinks, toilets, light switches, bannisters are cleaned more regularly than normal by the cleaning team. 
  • The use of shared space such as halls is limited and there is cleaning between use by different groups. 
  • PE changing rooms are in use for access to lockers/ minimal changing and will be cleaned between use by different groups. 
  • In the Dining Hall, between sittings, all of the surfaces will be cleaned in line with Government guidance. 
  • Face coverings or visors are worn by staff during high risk food preparation and when supervising distributing snacks/lunches to pupils and staff. (see risk M below for more detail) 
  • All spaces are well ventilated using natural ventilation (opening windows) where possible, or ventilation units. 
  • Doors will be propped open with door wedges, where safe to do so (bearing in mind fire safety and safeguarding), to limit use of door handles and aid ventilation. 
  • The use of shared resources such as stationery and equipment will be limited. Pupils are advised to bring their own stationery into school. Any laptops/tablets that are brought into school should be fully charged, and power packs as needed. Individual Art/ Photography packs will be provided for all pupils who study those subjects, and these packs will be stored separately and not shared with any other pupils. 
  • Classroom based resources, such as books will be used and shared within each year group bubble and cleaned regularly, along with all frequently touched surfaces.  
  • Teachers will collect and mark books as usual, however, there may be a longer return time than usual to minimise cross-contamination. 
  • Where equipment has to be shared, care will be taken to ensure that it is sanitised between use by different year group bubbles 
  • Pupils will not use school aprons or lab coats as such items must not be shared. Instead, if needed, pupils will use their own, individual apron or an overall/ shirt for the relevant practical lessons. 
  • Pupils bring will bring their own, named water bottle into school daily, which will not be sharedThere are water stations in each year base where pupils can refill their bottles throughout the day. They will not be able to use water fountains which will be switched off. 
  • If a pupil has an Epipen or inhaler, they must bring this into school with them. Staff have access to the Emergency Medicines list. 
  • Procedures are in place for office and other administrative staff to handle incoming post,  deliveries and paperwork safely. 
  • Infection control procedures are adhered to as much as possible in accordance with the DfE and PHE guidance. 
  • Face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when in corridors and communal areas, unless they cannot do so due to medical reasons.
  • Pupils and staff do not share cutlery, cups or food. All utensils, if used, are thoroughly cleaned before and after use. 
Risk D: Ill Health 
  • Staff are informed of the symptoms of possible coronavirus infection, e.g. a cough, difficulty in breathing and high temperature, and are kept up-to-date with national guidance about the signs, symptoms and transmission of coronavirus. 
  • Parents have been advised that girls must not attend school if they or a member of their household have any symptom of Coronavirus. Furthermore, parents have been advised that the school must be informed in anyone within a pupil’s household has a positive Coronavirus test. The same rules apply to staff. 
  • The school Medical Centre will be open, with the school nurses on site, as normal. If a pupil becomes ill during the day without Coronavirus symptoms, she will go to the Medical Centre as usual.  
  • Any pupil who displays Coronavirus symptoms will immediately be isolated in the designated area, supervised by a designated member of staff with First Aid trainingwhilst awaiting collection by their parent or guardian. This will ensure that pupils with Coronavirus symptoms do not come into contact with other pupils and as few staff as possible, whilst ensuring the pupil is safe. 
  • The parents of an unwell pupil are informed by the designated member of staff/ School Nurse as soon as possible. 
  • If the school is unable to contact the parents, then the pupil stays at school until the parent arrives to collect them. 
  • If the pupil requires any close contact before they can return home, disposable gloves, a disposable apron and a fluid resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult. 
  • The designated member of staff/ School Nurse calls for emergency assistance immediately if the pupil’s symptoms worsen. 
  • The designated room is thoroughly cleaned once vacated by an ill pupil(s). 
  • If an unwell pupil is waiting to go home, they will be instructed to use a designated toilet. To minimise risk of infection, that toilet will not be used again afterwards, until it has been thoroughly cleaned. 
  • The designated member of staff who has helped someone with symptoms and any pupils who have been in close contact with them do not need to go home to self-isolate unless they develop symptoms themselves (in which case, they should arrange a test) or if the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive or they have been requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace. 
  • Any medication to ease the unwell pupil’s symptoms, e.g. paracetamol, is administered in line with the First Aid Policy. Where possible, staff administer medication from the side of the child, or wearing a face covering. 
Risk E: Spread of infection 
  • Spillages of bodily fluids, e.g. respiratory and nasal discharges, are cleaned up immediately in line with Government guidance. 
  • Pupils and staff are instructed to cough or sneeze into their elbow and use a tissue to cover their mouths where possible, disposing of the tissue in the lidded bins in classrooms. 
  • Pupils and staff clean their hands after they have coughed or sneezed. 
  • Pupils and staff queue 2 metres apart at entrances and exits to avoid risks of transmission. 
  • Pupils and staff follow social distancing measures in school (as above) to avoid risks of transmission. 
  • Parents are informed that they should not bring their children to school or on the school premises if they show signs of being unwell and believe they have been exposed to Coronavirus. 
  • If a pupil or member of staff has displayed symptoms of Coronavirus, or a member of their household has symptoms or has tested positive for Coronavirus, they must self-isolate as per Government guidelines before returning to school.   
Risk F: Management of infectious diseases 
  • Staff are vigilant and report concerns about a pupil’s symptoms to the designated member of staff/School Nurse. 
  • Prior’s Field is consistent in its approach to the management of suspected and confirmed cases of Coronavirus (as above). 
  • In response to any infection Prior’s Field will engage with the NHS Test and Trace process, and with the local health protection team to manage confirmed cases of Coronavirus amongst the school community. Prior’s Field will follow local health protection team advice to contain any outbreak 
  • Social distancing measures are implemented as much as possible (as above). 
  • There are plans in place for the movement of pupils and staff around the school (as above). 
  • There are plans in place for the movement of parents at drop off and pick up (as above). 
  • Breaks and lunches will take place in year group bubbles (as above). 
  • The Estate and Facilities Manager monitors the cleaning standards of school cleaners and discusses any additional measures required with regards to managing the spread of Coronavirus. 
Risk G: Parental Engagement 
  • Parents are told that they must not exit their vehicles at drop off and pick up. Parents will not accompany their child into the school buildings and should depart from the site promptly. 
  • Parents are told that they cannot gather at entrance gates or doors, or enter the site (unless they have a pre-arranged appointment, which should be conducted safely). 
  • Parents are informed about the need to provide their own stationery, water bottle and laptop/tablet (if required). 
  • Parents should continue to encourage their child to adhere to the Prior’s Field’s Behaviour Policy, and recognise their responsibility in adhering to social distancing measures. 
  • Parents must do everything they can to ensure pupils are not mixing socially outside of school. They must observe the same social distancing principles as adults, as far as possible.
Risk H: Communication 
  • Pupils, parents, carers or any visitors, such as suppliers, are told not to enter the school if they are displaying any symptoms of Coronavirus. 
  • The designated member of staff/ School Nurse reports any suspected cases of Coronavirus immediately to the headteacher, even if they are unsure. 
  • The Head contacts the Area Schools Officer immediately about any suspected cases of Coronavirus, even if they are unsure, and discusses if any further action needs to be taken; there is also the option to call the DfE Schools helpline if necessary. 
  • Prior’s Field keeps pupils and parents adequately updated about any changes to infection control procedures as necessary. 
  • The school informs parents if any changes are needed to the arrangements and provision to ensure the safety of pupils, staff and parents. This will be done with as much notice as possible.  
  • There is early communication from the school with contractors and suppliers that will support its plans for opening, for example, cleaning, catering and food suppliers. 
Risk I: Pupils or Staff unable to attend due to COVID-19 
  • This covers the following scenarios: Partial school closure, all pupils unable to attend school, some pupils unable to attend school or some staff unable to attend school.
  • Prior’s Field communicates with parents via letter/email regarding any updates to school procedures which are affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. 
  • The school maintains its plan for pupils’ continued education during partial school closure to ensure there is minimal disruption to pupils’ learning – this includes monitoring pupils’ learning while not in school. 
  • Pupils who cannot return (per Government guidance), will continue to be receive some teaching support.  
  • Teachers who cannot return (per Government guidance), will continue to give teaching support to pupils. This may include remote teaching to pupils in school, where possible. Cover may be provided by other staff. 
  • In the event of a year group(s) being unable to attend school, the continuing education of the pupils in the affected year group will be paramount. Other measures, including remote learning, will be implemented to ensure that the pupils in the year group are taught whilst at home. 
  • The Behaviour Policy, Acceptable Use of IT Policy and Staff Code of Conduct are adhered to at all times 
  • The school manages the use of parents’ and pupils’ contact details in line with school policies. 
Risk J: Emergencies 
  • All pupils’ emergency contact details are up-to-date, including alternative emergency contact details, where required. 
  • Pupils’ parents are contacted as soon as practicable in the event of an emergency. 
  • Pupils’ alternative contacts are called where their primary emergency contact cannot be contacted. 
  • The school has an up to date First Aid Policy in place which outlines the management of medical emergencies – medical emergencies are managed in line with this policy. 
  • Should an emergency evacuation of school or lockdown be needed, girls are expected to follow our usual procedures whilst maintaining social distancing. However, they should not compromise their safety if their life is in danger. 
Risk K: Managing School Transport 
  • Parents, children and young people are encouraged to walk or cycle to their education setting where possible.  
  • On all Home to School bus services, there will be specific seats allocated to each year group bubble. Pupils travelling on the buses will be given a map of the bus showing where these seats are located, and a copy will be displayed in the bus for ease of reference. Pupils will be responsible for ensuring that they sit in the appropriate area. Where possible pupils will choose to sit in the same seat for each journey.   
  • A distance of 2 metres between year groups should be observed when waiting for the bus, and disembarking.  
  • Pupils should wear a face covering (supplied by the pupil) whilst travelling on Home to School buses. If they forget their face covering, spare masks will be available on the bus (recharged to parents).  
  • Drivers will wear face coverings, however, in certain circumstances they may lower their face covering during the journey (whilst facing away from passengers) if necessary, for safety reasons.  
  • Transport providers will clean vehicles thoroughly on a daily basis in accordance with agreed schedule and will clean high-touch areas between each journey.  
  • Drivers will remain forward facing as much as possible and avoid unnecessary interaction with pupils. If their vehicle allows, there will be a screen around the driver area. 
  • Hand sanitiser will be available on board, to be used upon boarding and leaving the vehicle.  
  • Vehicles will be well ventilated. Where air conditioning is in use, units have been configured where possible to extract external air rather than re-circulating internal air (as per guidance from the Confederation of Passenger Transport). Where the air conditioning cannot be configured in this way, drivers may turn off the air conditioning and open the bus windows. 
Risk L: Food 
  • Lunch will be provided to all pupils attending school 
  • During lunches and snacks strict social distancing and hygiene standards must be observed (see above). 
  • Face coverings or visors are worn by Catering staff whilst serving food, operating in communal areas, and preparation of high-risk food items. Staff on duty supervising distribution of snacks/lunches to pupils will also wear face coverings or visors.  
  • Food provision within the school will be provided by our partner, Chartwells Independent, who will provide all meals on site in line with the latest government guidelines.  
  • To minimise risk to the school community they have revised their working hours, techniques and offerings to ensure a safe delivery of product across the school. 
  • With Assistance from the Chartwells Health and Safety team, due consideration has been applied to all aspects of the catering operation to minimise the potential for contamination. Within the school, Chartwells have undertaken remobilisation processes, risk assessments, safe systems of work and training with their entire team prior to reopening.  
  • No food is brought into school from pupils’ homes, unless arranged with the school in advance. 

PRIOR’S FIELD, Priorsfield Road, Godalming, Surrey GU7 2RH United Kingdom

01483 810551