The 2020 pandemic has changed daily life in the UK immeasurably, and some of the hardest hits have been those school pupils who have now been off school and unable to see friends or teachers for over two months.
Getting all school pupils in the UK back to school by September is currently one of the government’s biggest problems. It looks like that social distancing – or the ‘2-metre rule’ – will still be required at the start of next term, and yet most schools are not designed to keep this much space between pupils.
Another key concern of schools across the country is separating classes and year groups into ‘bubbles’ to ensure children mix only with those from their own bubble, hopefully minimising the spread of the virus should one child catch it.
What does social distancing in schools look like?
Several measures have been considered by schools to maximise safety when pupils return. These measures include limiting class sizes to 15 and keeping pupils 2 metres apart both inside the class and outside. In addition, staggered lunches and break times can limit the number of children in the dining hall and playground at any time, and parents should be discouraged from gathering close together at the school entrance.
Schools will also need to rethink hygiene standards; this means an increased level of cleaning going on inside classrooms and corridors and regular handwashing and hand sanitising for both staff and students throughout the school. Many schools are also considering incorporating more outdoor teaching to get children out into an open-air environment.
How can fencing help?
Social Distance Fencing will be an invaluable distancing method for most schools as they prepare to reopen fully to all pupils. Using fencing strategically, playgrounds can be separated to keep class ‘bubbles’ apart, and outdoor space can be utilised efficiently to ensure that social distancing can be followed outside of class. This means that if a student at the school tests positive for coronavirus, only that student’s own ‘bubble’ needs to self-isolate, and the rest can carry on learning.
Most school playgrounds are open plan, which means pupils from the youngest year groups to the oldest are mixing at break times. By breaking up play areas as well as pick up and drop off points into smaller areas, schools will be able to keep children in their own bubbles throughout the school day as well as keep track of the number of students in one play area at a time by limiting each playground to 10 or 15 pupils at once.
Fencing such as this Bow Top Playground Fencing can be used safely and effectively in school playgrounds as social distance fencing to keep children apart and ensure safe play spaces for all classes, while sports fencing such as the Duo Sports is perfect for secondary schools who are interested in creating more designated outdoor spaces such as tennis courts or running tracks.
By installing child-friendly social distancing fencing, schools can reassure students, teachers, and parents that they are doing what they can to ensure safety both inside and outside the classroom. For more advice and information about fencing solutions to help your school reopen after the pandemic, please contact us at Zaun.