The return to school has come at a time when other restrictions are still in place and so children and parents are still being asked to participate in strong social distancing. However, the school setting can make this a challenge. Using social bubbles, in which classrooms or year groups are grouped and don’t interact with others, has become very normal for many but how do you ensure that all social bubbles remain distanced?
1. Entrance And Exit Of School
One of the first things that can be done is reducing numbers at the entrance and exit of the school. Many schools have now adopted staggered starting points. This is a great idea as you don’t have everyone walking into school at the same time which increases the opportunities for parents to keep a safe distance. The problem is that entrances and exits need to be in different areas too, if possible. A one-way system is the best option that allows everyone to drop off and pick up children without passing each other. It might also be best to position staff around the one-way system to prevent parents from congregating in groups.
2. Staggered Break Times
Break times are going to be tough to control. Most schools have social distancing where year groups are playing in different areas of the school now. Even playgrounds have been divided up. But it wouldn’t take much for a group of children to slip into another area. Therefore, staggered break times might be the best option. This can be done for morning and afternoon breaks as well as lunchtimes.
3. Smaller Groups
This is a harder one to manage but could be vital. Smaller groups of children are easier to manage than larger groups. So, if you have the staff and resources, try to use smaller groups in social bubbles at play and at lunchtimes. You can expand areas of entertainment by using some classrooms or school canopy areas. Smaller groups also make staggered break times easier. But this can be more disruptive to your teaching, so you will have to find the balance and whether this is suitable for you.
4. Parent Education
Finally, you have to work with parents to ensure they realise the importance of social distancing. At the beginning and end of the school day, it is all too easy for parents to speak to each other while waiting for access to the school. You should be discouraging this and reminding parents that for social distancing to work, we should all be maintaining our distance.
To continue to reopen society, we have to all do our part. While children generally experience milder symptoms of Covid-19, measures should still be in place to reduce the transmission of it, especially as most parents haven’t got their vaccination yet. Therefore, we need to keep those social bubbles separate, at least for a little while longer.
Able Canopies Ltd. design, manufacture and install canopies and shade structures at schools, nurseries and educational settings to enable year-round Free Flow Outdoor Play and Outdoor Learning.
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