The guidance has been written specifically with the global pandemic in mind, but many of its principles apply in the ordinary context of health and safety in a school.
We recommend reviewing your risk assessments again. While a risk assessment is a live document and should be reviewed regularly, it is clear that the appearance of a new variant in the country, which appears to be more transmissible and more prevalent among children, is something that would clearly trigger a review. In addition, the fact that the definition of key/critical worker has changed in this national lockdown could again affect the validity of your existing risk assessment and trigger a review. For both these reasons, we recommend a review considering these issues and any other changes relevant to your particular setting.
As a first, we would suggest that you write to your employer to request further information, which can be relied on during the review of your risk assessment. Please find a template letter here
which may assist. We also suggest that when using this template letter, you also consider raising specific local issues with your employer in this, over and above the ‘template’ language we have prepared for you. While it is difficult for us to specify what these particular local issues might be, they could relate to things like buildings (size, room layout, ventilation and heating), numbers of vulnerable staff/children and numbers of children who require physical intervention. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it will hopefully give you a flavour of the individual issues you should be considering and raising with the employer.
First published 12 January 2021