As we begin a new academic year, everyone will be paying consideration to the sustained impact of COVID going forward. The DfE have published updated schools operational guidance and an updated contingency framework for education and the government have changed the rules for isolation.
We certainly hope that the year ahead will be a little more ‘normal’! You should be aware that whilst all your staff should now be returning to the workplace, you will need to ensure risk assessments remain up to date with actions in place to protect your clinically extremely vulnerable, vulnerable and pregnant members of staff. Whilst social distancing and mask wearing is not required, you will want to reassure your team that their health and well-being remains a priority.
You may also wish to continue offering home working some days each week, for those who can do this.
We would strongly advise that you once again stress the importance of good ventilation and encourage everyone to have windows and doors open to create an air flow, where possible. Ventilation reduces the concentration of the virus in the air and therefore significantly reduces the risk of transmission.
The changes to rules on isolation now mean that all staff members who are double vaccinated will not have to self-isolate after contact with the virus and can continue to come to work. They should however go for a PCR test and time off should be facilitated for this. Isolation is only required for them if they test positive.
However, anyone aged over 18 years and 6 months who is not vaccinated does still have to isolate. This will mean that you will need to be provided with the vaccination status of your team members and anyone who has not had their vaccines will have to continue to self-isolate for 10 days each time they have contact with someone who tests positive.
We wish you a positive and successful start to the new academic year!