Coronavirus (COVID-19) Education open days and evenings

There is currently no specific guidance issued by Department of Education or Public Health England relating to open days or evenings. This guidance is general advice and it is the responsibility of each school to undertake their own risk assessment and satisfy themselves that they are mitigating any risks identified.

In the event that local restrictions to control outbreaks have been imposed then schools should contact the WCF Education team and Council Public Health team prior to holding any open day or evening.

Arrangements for open days and evenings should follow the same public health principles that apply to working safely in schools:

Website: Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

Ways that these could be implemented in relation to open days or evenings:

Social distancing

  • schools should limit visitors during the regular school day while pupils are present. Open days should not be held on these days. For Open Evenings schools can chose to close early but should consider cleaning arrangements before and after the evening
  • schools should not hold presentations or talks where groups of people sit in rooms together. Alternatives to this could be virtual presentations, videos or online documents available for prospective parents, carers and pupils to download
  • schools should consider how attendee adults and children interact with staff and subject areas whilst still complying with the social distancing principle of 2 metres or 1 metre plus. Activities that require or encourage “hands on” interaction should not take place. Alternatives such as teacher demonstrations, videos or ‘rolling’ presentations that demonstrate the activities could be used
  • the number of attendees should be controlled through the use of appointments, see Appointments and Contacts Tracing section below
  • attendees to open evenings should be reminded when they arrive to keep 2 metres distance from staff and other groups and to avoid unnecessarily touching surfaces and objects. It may be useful to reinforce that any children who are attending must be closely supervised by the adults in their group
  • any attendees over 11 years may be requested to wear face coverings. It is the school’s discretion whether they wish to make this a requirement based on their risk assessment and whether they will allow attendance if this is not complied with
  • schools should consider who assists with tours of schools. In particular where this has previously been done by pupils, they should assess whether this will provide an appropriate level of supervision and control
  • schools should consider if they will admit small groups of parents and children who tour the school as a small bubble who socially distance within their bubble during their visit and so minimise mixing of visitors

Hand cleaning

All attendees should wash or sanitise their hands-on entry to the school and on departure. Provision should be made by schools for this to happen. The most practical way will be to provide hand sanitiser in either spray bottles or gels bottles with pumps at the entry and exit points and for this to be supervised by a member of staff.

Download: Hand cleaning (PDF)

Buildings

  • the attendees should comply with a one-way system to ensure that social distancing is maintained. It is likely that the one-way systems that have been implemented in schools will be suitable therefore no new signage will be needed, however schools should review this and plan routes accordingly
  • rooms which will be accessed on a tour of the school should have the doors held open. However, schools should carefully consider this and specific safety issues, e.g. fire doors should not be held open and how to control access to areas with machinery or chemicals
  • schools may decide on a limited number of people within each room to ensure social distancing
  • ventilation should be maximised by opening windows etc. Schools should consider the safety and security when deciding which rooms this will apply to
  • schools should consider whether they make toilets available to attendees and if so then limit this to a specific location. Any toilets used should be thoroughly cleaned prior to reopening for general school use.

Appointments and contact tracing

  • to maintain social distancing and manage the number of attendees schools should consider using a booking system for attendees to make appointments for specific times or ‘time slots’
  • how this would work would need to be part of the risk assessment process and will differ for each school
  • if the school does not have an existing system then free ticketing systems are available for example Eventbrite (opens in a new window) or Ticketsource (opens in a new window)
  • schools should consider limiting attendees to a specific number e.g. 2 adults plus children under 14 or say a total of 4 people
  • schools should determine what is appropriate for their specific prospective intake and this should be part of their risk assessment process
  • contact details of all attendees should be requested and retained for 21 days to assist contract tracing in the event of an outbreak
  • these details should be collected on entry to the school
  • this should also apply when using a booking system as this may not record all attendees’ details, details to be collected are:
    • the name of the attendee - if there is more than one person, then you can record the name of the ‘lead member’ of the group and the number of people in the group
    • a contact phone number for each attendee, or for the lead member of a group of people
    • date of visit, arrival time and, where possible, departure time
    • if an attendee will interact with only one member of staff, the name of the assigned staff member should be recorded alongside the name of the attendee

More information can be found at GOV.UK (opens in a new window)