Schools re-opening: How Covid-safe classrooms will look with face masks and screens separating desks from Monday

SCHOOLS will finally unlock their doors from Monday with a host of measures in place to help protect teachers and kids.

As staff and pupils adapt, classrooms are likely to look a little different, with everything from perplex screens to sanitising stations.

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DESK SEPARATORS

Gone are the days of copying a pal's work or sliding them a note, with kids now strictly made to sit 1m apart.

Perplex screens are likely to shield pupils from the front of the class while desks will probably be separated with large screens at the side.

All pupils will be expected to face the front of the class, while teachers are encouraged to limit their movement in the room.

FACE MASKS

Secondary school pupils and teachers are now asked to wear face coverings in classrooms and areas where it is not possible to socially distance.

Official guidance from the Department for Education states that "no pupil should be denied education on the grounds that they are not wearing a face covering".

But Schools Minister Nick Gibbs said masks are "highly recommended".

Confirming the measure, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "In line with public health guidance, we are also now advising that face coverings should be worn in secondary school classrooms as well as in further and higher education settings unless social distancing can be maintained."

VENTILATION

Teachers are encouraged to ramp up mechanical ventilation units in classrooms where possible, with the aim of helping air circulate around the room.

The measure will keep Covid particles at bay and limit the spread of the bug.

Alternatively, schools are encouraged to keep windows open throughout the day to ensure any virus particles can be expelled outside.

SANITATION

Teachers have long been fixing up hygiene measures for kids, with hand sanitising stations now found in the majority of classrooms.

Members of staff have also been urged to ramp up hygiene control, ensuring classrooms are spick and span and kids are washing their hands more regularly.

In some schools, trough-style basins with a button underneath may let kids wash their hands without all touching the same tap.

The sinks would be operated by a tap of the knee rather than with hands, helping to limit the amount of surfaces touched.

TESTS

Secondary school kids are now to be tested twice a week when they go back to class.

Official guidance from the Department for Education states that lateral flow testing is "voluntary" and "schools will have discretion on how to test students over that week as they return to the classroom".

The government recommends, however, that anyone "going to a school or college premises," or anyone who shares a bubble or household with someone who is "should also get tested".

BUBBLES

Classroom bubbles and staggered start times are continuing to be encouraged across schools to help limit numbers mixing.

Pupils will likely start and complete their days within the same group of pals, making socialising somewhat difficult.

The Education Secretary has said the measures, which were used when schools reopened last summer, continue to be valid.

As with all measures, they will be reviewed again in Easter.

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