“We know schools will be facing a completely different world next term as they manage the reopening of their classrooms. All subjects will be affected but those reliant on the use of equipment, such as computers, will have particular issues to face. Here is our summary of the information to support all members of our community.”
Vice-chair Computing At School
We have pulled together guidance and information from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Department for Education (DfE) and CAS community, to support teachers over the coming weeks when deciding which steps to take to help keep staff and students safe from the risk of coronavirus.
Carry out a risk assessment in liaison with the whole school process
The general principles are to identify: the hazards; who might be harmed and how; what is already being done to control the risks; what further action needs to be taken; who needs to take action; and when the action is needed.
Consider who is responsible
Identify who will carry out any required actions and make sure to share this information.
Four aspects of computer room hazards:
- Equipment: physical computer kit
- Ventilation: air conditioning and windows see the HSE Guidance (consider: fresh air, avoid re-circulation, stagnant pockets)
- People: proximity (between each other and the teacher), movement around the IT suite and location (distancing)
- Behaviour: pupils’ individual actions: touching, breathing, coughing, sneezing, and talking (face-to-face). [This should be based on a whole behaviour policy issue.]
Consider changes to practice to reduce risk
- Reducing movement, for example, by not requiring pupils to collect printing
- Reducing interaction, for example, through social distancing rules, on-screen communication, teachers always positioning themselves at the front of the classroom
- Reducing touching, for example, limiting access to peripherals
- Reducing the need for cleaning, for example, closing off spare workstations and putting away unneeded items
Operationalise the risk assessment – whole school issue
- Establish school, department and room rules/procedures/routines
- Establish responsibilities for equipment (class teacher, subject lead, caretaker or SMT)
- Create (pupils create) information sheets, posters and comms to ensure all stakeholders are aware including pupils, teachers, teaching assistants, support staff, parents, technicians, cleaners, management, visitors
- With increased use, consider the storage of cleaning products and materials
- Establish a review date
Consider the advice from DfE and HSE
Deep cleaning is a thorough clean of all frequently touched surfaces at least once per day, usually carried out by the routine cleaning staff. Periodic cleaning is cleaning at different times throughout the day: cleaning items immediately after use, frequent cleaning of regularly used surfaces.
The DfE Guidance states, “practical lessons can go ahead if equipment can be cleaned thoroughly and the classroom or other learning environment is occupied by the same children or young people in one day, or properly cleaned between cohorts”.
Some teachers are cleaning equipment with detergent or disinfectant wipes between lessons, and some are asking pupils to clean keyboards, mice, touchscreens and surfaces BEFORE use. Shared devices such as laptop trollies, charging stations, telephones, cameras, and physical computing equipment need to be considered.
IMPORTANT: We're really interested in hearing how your school will be actively
supporting you next term to deliver computing safely. It's helpful to share the
different approaches so we can all learn from what is working.
There are three ways you can do this:
- Read the CAS Community resource page for COVID-19 and maybe share any resources you think would be useful to other teachers.
- Join in the discussion on our CAS Community forum threads, for example, Return to School and Computing and COVID-19 - Return to school - computer room precautions.
- Share ideas on our CAS Google Doc page.
If you’re interested in attending a Zoom meeting to discuss these issues then please email: COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, it’s important to try and minimise the negative effects any new measures may have on the delivery of the computing curriculum. Check out the rich source of unplugged activities available – some of which can be adapted to comply with social distancing - for more ideas on COVID-safe classroom teaching.
Please note: this document is of a general nature and is information for CAS members. It is based upon reference to teaching resources and equipment in general and reference to industry/commerce advice provided through the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Department for Education (DfE). It has been informed by CAS members through the Community forum and social media. In the event of any conflict between your school policy and/or any applicable legislation with this information, the applicable legislation and school policy should prevail.