There are four general precautionary measures that contribute to reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission: masks, physical distancing, hygiene, and ventilation.
Masks and Other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Masks shall be worn by any individual entering the school premises, except the following categories:
- Students in KG.
- Students and staff who cannot wear masks due to medical conditions (supported by a medical certificate) who are expected to wear a face shield instead.
- Teachers of younger students as well as Students of Determination that have hearing impairments, who are advised to wear transparent masks instead.
- All students and staff during lunch and when engaged in medium- and high-risk sports, provided strict physical distancing is maintained. Masks must be worn at all other times.
Mask requirements are subject to change based on the latest guidelines from relevant authorities.
Schools shall remind students and staff to bring extra masks to always ensure that a spare mask is available.
Masks must be disposed of and/or stored properly.
Schools shall maintain a supply of masks for students who may not have them or have misplaced or damaged their masks. These shall be readily available at the entrances and exits of the school, and in classrooms if needed.
Schools shall ensure that students are wearing masks correctly. Schools shall also provide training to students on proper hand hygiene and mask-wearing. For proper mask usage and removal, see Appendix 1.
Due to the increased proximity of some staff working with Students of Determination, it is the school’s responsibility to ensure staff working with Students of Determination are provided with the appropriate PPE as per the student’s individual risk assessment.
Gloves are not recommended but may be worn. Staff and students should be made aware that gloves do not prevent infection and that practicing good hand hygiene is preferable.
In some cases, additional PPE (face shields, gloves, and/or single-use full sleeved aprons) may be required to be worn by staff based on individual sector requirements (i.e. nurse, janitorial staff, canteen staff, etc.).
Schools shall implement the following physical distancing requirements:
- 1 meter (m) between all individuals (students, staff, visitors) across the school premises
- 2 m between “all-access” staff and others
Where a school decides it has the capacity to allow the return of a Student of Determination who requires a high level of support, and it is in the child’s best interests, it must ensure that this does not increase the risk of infection for the child and others.
Where a student requires physical contact to enable access to the school, for example due to a physical need or mobility issue, the risk assessment must demonstrate how the needs of the child are to be managed. A highly personalised Individual Educational Plan (IEP) should be developed and this, along with the risk assessment, should be reviewed periodically as deemed appropriate.
Practicing good personal hygiene is obligatory for the whole school community.
Students shall be encouraged to always carry a sanitizer with 60%-80% alcohol in their bags to sanitize their hands frequently.
Schools shall remind staff and students, through information sessions and posters, of proper handwashing/hand sanitizing protocols, particularly in the following instances:
- When hands are visibly soiled
- Before eating
- After using the toilet
- After touching high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, handrails, etc.
- After coughing or sneezing
Students of Determination should be provided with appropriate guidance on hygiene management and supervised to ensure compliance with any requirements. Where the needs of the child prevent them from achieving this independently, appropriate support may be given provided the risk to the student and member of staff is mitigated. Personal protective measures for members of staff supporting the hygiene management of Students of Determination must be considered.
Evidence shows that good indoor ventilation is one of the most significant factors in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Schools shall review their ventilation practices as part of their general risk assessment and shall develop strategies to improve ventilation, where possible, using the following recommended methods:
- Dilution: Opening windows and doors; inspecting/maintaining exhaust ventilation, disabling Demand Control Ventilation (DCV), repositioning outdoor air dampers, and using fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows.
- Filtration: Using air filtration systems such as High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters.
- Purification: Using air purification systems such as Upper-Room Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) systems.
For further technical guidance, see "Ventilation in Buildings".
If the air-conditioning system is used, schools should ensure there is sufficient fresh air supply and the dust-filters are cleaned and sanitized regularly.
Closed spaces, such as classrooms, should be ventilated with fresh air for at least 10 minutes before students arrive at school, during recreation/recess, at lunch time, and after school.