Reopening of Schools
Health and Safety Protocols
25 May 2020
In response the announcements by the Spanish authorities about a possible return to schools, SEK Education Group immediately established a Reopening Committee to develop protocols intended to ensure the health and safety all students and teachers who may be returning to school, according to guidelines of the Spanish and regional authorities, and best practices worldwide. In particular, in order to learn from their experience, we engaged with schools and organisation in countries such as Denmark, Switzerland and China, where schools have already reopened. With particular thanks for the support from Copenhagen International School, the International School of Basel and Western Academy Beijing.
We are currently waiting for official information from authorities in regard to the specific dates on which we may reopen the schools, as well as the requirements for this. This will depend on which phase each Autonomous Region is in at the time. Nevertheless, we continue to prepare for the reopening process, with a special focus on health and safety measures. As you know, SEK Schools already have flexible and open learning spaces that greatly facilitate the return of our students to classrooms.
Please find below the protocols that have been created by the Reopening Committee, which is made up of medical services, pedagogical representatives and experts in safety, with the goal of ensuring the wellbeing, learning, health and safety of all members of our community in this process of school reopening.
Please keep in mind that these protocols may be updated according to the information that the authorities publish. For this reason, we suggest you check this website often to keep yourself informed about the latest updates.
On the other hand, SEK is also working on the design of the Future Learning Model, that, starting next September, optimises the use of our digital ecosystem and the schools physical spaces, offering personalised learning experiences, through active methodologies that promote meaningful learning and the development of skills.
1. General health and safety guidelines
These guidelines are intended to ensure the health and safety of all those who return to school, according to the instructions of the national and regional authorities, and best practices at the international level.
The school recommends that all staff, students and family members be aware of the documentation on COVID-19 from the Spanish authorities and the WHO, especially if they have been in contact with a confirmed case of the coronavirus.
Please keep in mind that families returning to Spain must remain in quarantine for 14 days and cannot attend school during this period.
Students who have symptoms or have been in contact with people affected by COVID-19, will not be able to attend school. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, dry cough, fever, body ache, sore throat, shortness of breath, general tiredness and other symptoms of a cold, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of taste and smell, and dermatological lesions similar to chilblains.
Families will sign a consent form for their children’s school attendance if they meet a series of requirements that guarantee their well-being, as well as the possibility of taking their temperature if they have symptoms.
If your child has possible COVID-19 symptoms, please contact the doctor. The doctor should assess and determine the actions to be taken, including possible isolation measures.
If a student at school shows any symptoms of COVID-19 or has a temperature of 37.7 ºC (100 F) or higher, they will be asked to be collected by parents immediately. A member of the medical service will call the parents to arrange for their immediate pickup of the student.
If it is confirmed that a person who has been to the school has COVID-19, the school should be informed so that everyone with whom this person has had contact can be notified.
Your child can return to school when the doctor indicates she/he is free from infection (which will take at least 72 hours after showing NO symptoms of the coronavirus).
If your child’s illness is not caused by COVID-19, you can return to school after 72 hours have passed without fever, and without the use of fever control medications (for example, acetaminophen or paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.). This is the most effective way to prevent infections and allows the person to recover, and the immune system to regain strength.
Many times, a child may want to go to school despite being sick. PLEASE DO NOT send your children to school if they have shown any symptoms of the coronavirus and that it could spread to other children or adults.
Additionally, if a family member is a confirmed as having COVID-19, that person should be isolated as far as possible and avoid any physical contact with other members of the family, according to the instructions of the Spanish authorities.
- Currently there are no precise indications or consensus on the use of masks in the school environment (except on school transport). We therefore recommend that children from the ages of three and six go to school with a face mask (hygienic or surgical) and wear it during the day when social distancing of two meters cannot be guaranteed. Children aged six and over must wear face masks.
- In your child’s school pencil case, in addition to other instructions you will receive from the school regarding the necessary material, please include a spare face masks for the week (to be left at school, as they are used you will be notified by teachers so you can provide more), a package of disposable tissues, disinfectant wipes and a small bottle of hand sanitizing gel that can be used in specific cases or as a back-up personal hygiene measure. We also ask you to disinfect the backpack and wash the school uniform every day at the end of the day.
- Frequent hand washing with soap and water.
- Sneezing and coughing into their forearm if there are no tissues available.
- Washing hands or using alcohol gel after using disposable tissues.
2. General cleaning procedures
- Cleaning will be carried out daily in all the areas of the school, following strict protocols, and particular attention will be placed on elements and materials that have been used during the day and spaces with the greatest traffic of students.
- Railings, doorknobs, switches, elevator buttons, etc. will be continuously cleaned throughout the day by the cleaning staff.
- Bathrooms will be continuously cleaned and disinfected throughout the day by cleaning staff.
- Weather permitting, doors will be kept open in order to air spaces.
- The cleaning staff will wear clothing exclusively for their role and will be washed daily at 60ºC.
- There will be a cleaning control sheet to indicate if the facilities are safe to use.
3. Arrival and departure procedure
The following procedures are in place to ensure the highest standards of health, safety and hygiene.
- Students may not enter the campus before their allocated time. Students will be allowed on campus only for the duration of the school day.
- Students will enter school at their assigned entrance, one at a time, two meters apart and will observe two-meters social-distancing for the entire school day.
- Students must enter the school without their parents. For students from 0-6 years old, a member of staff will collect them at the entrance and lead them to class. Over seven-year-olds will walk to their class.
- Students should wash their hands before entering class or wipe them with disinfectant gel (there will be a dispenser at the entrance of each class). There will be a person assigned to take care of this procedure.
- Students who are late should enter through the front door of the school. They must sign in at reception and then go to their class.
- If a student who is late needs assistance, their teacher will be called to have this student collected at the front door.
- The same guidelines will be observed for picking up students at home time.
Please follow the assigned arrival and departure times for each student.
Signage and information
- At the entry and exit points, pathways and at the dining room, there will be safe space and direction indicators.
- On pathways and staircases, there will be clear direction and space indicators.
- There will be signs and posters indicating the hygiene measures throughout the school.
- The school is preparing explanatory videos on safety and hygiene for the youngest students.
Teachers and non-teaching staff
- To coordinate everything related to protocols each school has designated a COVID coordinator as well as monitoring committees for each protocol.
- All the school staff will be given training courses in these protocols, as well as in the necessary health surveillance and prevention measures.
- Teachers and non-teaching staff will enter the school through the assigned door, respect and promote social distancing throughout the school day and the use of masks, and will maintain the necessary hand hygiene, thus providing an example and encouraging these practices among their students.
- The necessary hygiene measures have also been arranged for the school secretary offices and the spaces for the private use of the staff will have additional cleaning and disinfection measures.
- There will be a digital agenda to facilitate communication.
- There may be a requirement for temperature control measures for access to the school (thermal cameras or non-contact thermometers).
4. Classroom arrangements
- The classroom arrangement of desks/tables will be according to the rules of social distance and safety.
- Students should use the same desk and chair every day. The desk/tables and chairs will be labelled with the names of the students.
- We will locate the students in the classrooms with the largest surface area to meet the social distance requirements.
- Teachers will be assigned groups of students according to the largest classroom available, with assistants and auxiliaries where appropriate.
- We will minimize the number of people with whom a student comes into contact, as well as ensuring the social distance of two meters. We will keep students within their class cluster for lessons, breaks and lunch.
5. Entering and leaving the classroom
Beginning of the day:
- Students will bring all their belongings to the classroom, including all their clothes and backpacks.
- Before removing items from their backpacks, students should wash their hands for 20 seconds in the assigned bathroom. There will be gel dispensers at the entrance of each class, as well as explanatory posters on hygiene and cleaning measures.
- Once they have washed their hands, they enter the classroom placing their backpacks under the chair, and extra clothing on the back of their assigned chair.
During the day:
- Students must wash their hands regularly, but especially before they enter the classroom; this is at the beginning of the day, after break, after PE, after using the toilet, or any other time they enter the room.
- Students must wash their hands when they leave the classroom; this is at the end of the day, before going to break, before going to PE, before going to the toilet or any other time they leave the room.
- Each class will have an assigned toilet area, and each student should always use the same cubicle. If possible, a bathroom will be assigned for each student. In the case of EY students, the assistants will be in charge of managing the use of the bathrooms and changing rooms by the children
- On the days of PE, the students will go to school in sports clothes, avoiding the use of the changing rooms. The pool will not be open until further notice.
End of the day:
- Students will put on their coats and backpacks outside of the classroom.
- Students will wash their hands before being taken to the designated gate for leaving the school.
6. Hygiene procedures in the classroom
The classrooms will be supplied with:
- Hand sanitizers.
- Disinfectant hand wipes.
- Paper towels.
- Litter bins with lid and foot pedal.
- Masks for teachers and students.
- No personal materials should be brought to school, except for a pencil case that should stay at school. Nor can material from the school be taken home, except when deemed appropriate by teachers.
- The school cleaning teams will clean each classroom and the materials that are used daily.
- Tablets, laptops, and computer mice should not be shared, and should be cleaned before and after each use. The teachers will show how to clean and with what product.
- Weather permitting, doors shall remain open to avoid contact with door handles or knobs.
- Weather permitting, windows will be kept open. In any case, classrooms will be ventilated several times each day.
- Textiles: Preventively, textiles will be removed from classrooms (rugs, cushions, etc.)
- Textiles such as bibs, sheets, etc. will be washed daily at 60ºC.
- Baby bouncers or other areas with textiles will be protected with a textile that can be washed daily at 60ºC or with a disposable if they exist on the market.Baby bouncers or other areas with textiles will be protected with a textile that can be washed daily at 60ºC or with a disposable if they exist on the market.
- Temporarily remove any games or materials that are difficult to keep clean.
- Reduce the presence of elements in the classrooms so that the highest degree of disinfection can be maintained in the student’s environment.
- Define a “dirty area” for EY and Primary to keep the games or materials that have been used during the day and in this way the cleaning team will be able to disinfect them correctly. Whenever possible, the dirty area will be located outside the classrooms, or as far away from the students as possible.
7. School´s medical service
- The medical service at school will only be available to those students who may need to go home due to illness or injury. Students will not be allowed to go to the medical room for unjustified and unnecessary reasons.
- Accompanying students will not be allowed to enter the nurse´s/doctor´s room.
It is important that all families update their emergency contact details, including mobile numbers, so that they can be easily contacted if necessary.
8. Meals service
- Younger children may eat snack and lunch in a specially designated classroom, observing the strictest health and safety measures.
- The Catergest catering staff will serve the food to the younger students.
- All students and staff wash their hands before eating snack or lunch.
- Students sit in their designated spot in room for lunch. This should be at a two-meter distance from others in the classroom.
- Snack and lunch will be supervised by the teacher.
- Meals will be eaten by turns and staff should use the provided disinfectant to thoroughly clean the tables after students have eaten.
- The doors of the dining rooms will remain open at all times to maintain air circulation.
- Methacrylate panels will in place where the food is served.
- At the entrance of the dining room, plastic gloves will be offered for students and staff
- Students will go to the self-service area to pick up the tray, the cutlery, the napkin and the glass wearing gloves.
- There will be containers to dispose of the gloves before sitting down to eat.
- Salad buffets will temporarily not be available (the salad will be served by the catering staff).
- Bread and fruit will be served by the catering staff, to reduce handling by students.
- The dining room will have fountains with water to avoid contact with the hands, both for filling glasses and for individual bottles. Jars for water will be removed.
- At all times, entrance and exit flows of the dining room will be created, with social distance to access the service areas and deposit trays (identifiers will be on the floor).
- There will be signs and posters indicating the hygiene measures that are applied that the students and teachers must respect.
Catergest indications for food safety:
- Catergest complies with the strictest compliance with all Food Safety protocols (HACCP) that are regularly audited.
- All staff are trained in good food handling and hygiene practices.
- Catergest staff uniforms are exclusively used in the workplace. They are washed daily at 60ºC.
- Catergest uses temperatures over 70º for cooking.
- Catergest maintains the cold chains in its food preparation processes.
- Food consumed raw without heat treatment (for example, lettuce, tomato, fruit, etc.) are sanitized with food bleach, as described in food safety protocols.
- The dishes, cutlery and glassware are disinfected by mechanical methods (washing trains, dishwashers, etc.) exceeding 80ºC in the rinse.
- All Catergest staff will use personal protective equipment (PPE).
9. Movement around campus
- All movement of students around and within the buildings is to be supervised/coordinated by teachers.
- Students must adhere to the two-meter social-distancing regulation at all times.
- Students must wash their hands, for a minimum of 20 seconds, before moving to another area in the school.
- Students must keep to the right when moving up and down the stairs and through the corridors.
- Banisters must only be used if necessary, when moving up and down the stairs.
- Stairs must be taken one step at a time.
- Students must remain five steps apart on the stairs.
- Cold water fountains around the campus for drinking should not be used, students should bring their own water bottle with them to school, which may be re-filled in the school dining room.
- Students remain in the same classroom during the day, with the exception of outdoor lessons, PE and breaks.
- PE classes will preferably take place outside.
10. Use of bathrooms
- Students should only use the assigned toilets and washing areas.
- Bathrooms should be used one student at a time unless they can maintain two-meter distance and use separate sinks and toilet cubicles.
- The bathrooms are fitted with hand soap, paper towel dispensers and wastebaskets with lid and pedal, which will be cleaned frequently.
- Toilet lids should be closed before flushing.
- Students should wash their hands after using the toilet, for a minimum of 20 seconds and dry their hands using only paper towels for at least 20 seconds. Hot-air dryers should not be used.
- A revised break schedule will be created to provide outdoor play for all students and limit the number of students in the play areas at one time.
- The number of staff on duty for every break will require a maximum teacher/student ratio of 1:15.
- Students must maintain a two-meter distance when playing, respecting the new health and safety instructions.
- Students must play only with their designated group of friends from their class.
- Football or any ball play is not permitted during this time.
- Students will not have access to toys and bikes in the play areas.
- All play area equipment must be thoroughly cleaned with disinfectant spray before and after break times.
12. School transport measures
The school transport service will strive to ensure social distancing of 2 meters, in addition to the following:
- Orderly queues when getting on and off coaches, respecting the safety distance.
- Use of masks is mandatory for all people on coaches.
- The total seat occupation will be limited so that all passengers have an adjoining empty seat that separates them from any other passenger.
- The only exception to this measure is for students who live in the same home, meaning there may be more occupants on the coach.
- The row after the driver’s seat must always be kept empty.