The advice in this article is true as of 09/03/20 - The situation is changing rapidly so for up to date information surrounding the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, check www.gov.uk for updates.
The global rise in coronavirus happened just before families went away for half term, with some visiting countries such as southern Italy and regions of France that have since suffered from a wider outbreak. The UK’s plan at the moment is to try and minimise the spread of the virus.
This mostly consists of reminding the public to wash their hands frequently, to catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue or handkerchief and to avoid any unnecessary bodily contact like hugging or even handshakes.
Should my school close?
At the moment, the government is not advising schools to close. Whilst several schools have closed throughout the country, most remain open. There is no current plan to close schools unless things become more serious.
However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that there’s “significant risk” of a wider outbreak, so continue to check the news in the coming weeks to see if anything is set to change.
Despite the Department for Education, and wider government’s advice, some schools and a multi-academy trust has closed their doors as a self induced attempt to prevent the spread of the illness.
Could this affect exams?
As it stands there’s been no advice to postpone or cancel exams. As only 40 people in the entire country have been affected, this isn’t grounds for Ofqual to postpone examinations.
However, as exams are due to kick off in May, two months time, schools are advised to ensure they have up-to-date contingency plans, should school closures become necessary. This is the case for SATs, GCSEs and A-Levels.
Preventing spread of coronavirus in school
Wash your hands frequently with antibacterial soap, or with hand wash gel, especially if you’ve been on public transport, in a hospital or in a public place.
Keep coughs and sneezes contained in a handkerchief or tissue - failing that your sleeve. Try not to catch them in your hands and don’t cough or sneeze uncovered.
Keep lab or PE equipment clean to ensure any contaminants aren’t passed on to other classes and year groups. Clean this equipment after every use and with the environmental cleaning.
Tell sick staff to stay at home. Staff often come in when they’re ill because they are too busy for a day off. This culture is even more dangerous when there is contagious virus doing the rounds! Tell staff to work from home if they're ill or encourage them to have time off to recover properly.
Alert local health officials if a student or member of staff is sick with flu-like symptoms and symptoms that seem to affect their respiratory system and inform them to go home.
Keeping up to date
Stay up to date with the latest news surrounding caronvirus and make sure you know what the current advice is, either by checking the government advice on gov.uk or BBC news. This way you’ll be able to react to any changes and plan for the upcoming months more effectively.