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Guidance to ensure a COVID-19 Friendly Playtime

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Covid-19 Friendly Playtime

covid-19 friendly playtime

Playtime for children is a time to let their imagination run wild and their social and communication skills really blossom. As the pandemic spread across nearly two academic years this was a challenging time for younger pupils finding it difficult to not being able to play and have as much fun as they were used to.  

As restrictions have now eased, we turn to the 21/22 new academic year with high hopes! However, to remain safe within the school environment we recommend that you still take precautions.  

We understand that this is difficult to undertake that this why we have come up with these amazing guidance tips to help ensure a Covid-19 friendly playtime in your school. 

For more information on what is required of school leaders in relation to health and safety risk assessments and managing risk, see the health and safety advice for schools.

Covid-19 Risk Assessment

Before playgrounds are to be used by children, the school must undertake a Covid-19 assessment. According to the Government this must be done working with unions or where representation isn’t in place with staff.  

To keep up and ensure that the school still complies with existing health and safety legislation the assessment must examine the risk of potential Covid-19 transmission from anyone who uses the equipment in the school’s playground this includes pupils, teachers, teaching assistants etc. 

It is therefore the school’s responsibility to do everything within reasonable practicability to minimize the risk and to make a Covid-19 friendly playtime possible within their school.  

Social Distancing

Before the summer holidays it was announced that restrictions are to be lifted in the UK. However, the Prime Minister urged everyone to still take precautions when interacting with others, this includes social distancing.

We understand that social distancing within the playground can be difficult to maintain and implement without additional measures: 

  • One option is to limit the number of pupils and staff who have access to the playground at any one time.  
  • Think about the timetable and how it may need adjusting to adhere to the guidelines. Moreover, the number of pupils using a specific area or piece of equipment at one time.  
  • Further, measures include using signs and infographics to communicate the maximum number of users on equipment in the playground. 
  • Keeping two meters between playground equipment- this may mean that some activities will not be available to ensure socially distanced precautions are met.  
  • Children can follow a one-way travel route around the playground and between equipment.

Keep in mind Mixing & Bubbles are no longer recommended by the government unless extremely necessary, however, they do urge that if you do deem that Mixing & Bubbles is necessary that to take into consideration the impact it may have on the delivery of education.  

Cleaning & Hygiene

Hand Hygiene 

  • Frequent and thorough hand cleaning should already be a regular practice within the school. Schools should ensure that their pupils are washing and cleaning their hands regularly with either soap and water or hand sanitiser. 

Respiratory Hygiene 

  • “Catch it, Bin it, Kill it” approach should continue to be very important! 

The cleaning of equipment is vital to prevent the spread of the virus!  

Schools have been advised to keep cleaning busy touchpoints throughout the day this includes equipment such as climbing frames, slides, play huts, crawl tunnels, exercise bars, gym equipment, gates, benches picnic tables and bins. 

Cleaning products should be those which are effective against the virus but which do not pose injury or harm to users. 

You can use the following government guide to make sure that you are adhering to the correct cleaning & hygiene for schools.

Face Coverings

Government guidelines concerning face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or communal areas of the school. 

This means that although the government has removed the requirement to wear a face covering in law it still expects and recommends that face coverings are worn in crowded spaces/areas, where you might come into contact with people you don’t normally meet. Including schools! 

In terms of playgrounds, it is considered as not an enclosed place therefore there is no requirement for your pupils to wear a face covering. However, as the Boris Johnson has stated that in crowded spaces that a face covering should be worn. Therefore, if equipment outside becomes overcrowded and difficult to maintain it is an option for your school to consider.  

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