Updated 29th August 2021
COVID-19 Worker guidance – September 2021
Ahead of the new academic year 2021-2022 and following changes in the rules relating to COVID-19 Connex Education has updated our guidance for all education staff.
Connex Education is committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of our staff as far as is reasonably practicable. We have a duty to not only seek to help protect you our workers but also protect pupils in the education settings we support.
While many restrictions have now been removed or relaxed Coronavirus remains a serious health risk and it is important that all staff manage risks and protect themselves and others.
Vaccinations are currently available for everyone aged 16 or over.
It is not compulsory to have been vaccinated to work within schools, all staff should though be aware that those who are vaccinated are subject to different rules in the event of contact with someone COVID-19.
Return to schools
We recognise that some workers will not wish to return to schools at this time and there is no obligation to do so, it is a decision for each individual to make in accordance with their views and personal circumstances. If at any time you do not wish to be considered for work or do not wish to accept an assignment, please inform your consultant.
Government guidance no longer recommends that it is necessary to keep children in consistent groups (“bubbles”). This means that bubbles are unlikely to be used within education settings this academic year. This enables flexibility in curriculum delivery, that assemblies can resume and pupils will no longer be restricted from mixing.
Schools will have contingency plans in place in the event of an outbreak that could include the possibility of temporarily reintroducing ‘bubbles’ but this is considered to be potential detrimental impact on children’s education and should be avoided.
In addition those under 18 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.
In the event of close contact with a positive COVID-19 case while on assignment you may be required by the school to show confirmation that you do not need to self-isolate – for example evidence you are fully vaccinated.
Ventilation of education settings
It remains important to ensure that education settings are well ventilated and that a comfortable learning environment is maintained. You should balance the need for increased ventilation while maintaining a comfortable temperature.
Use of face coverings
Face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas. The Government has removed the requirement to wear face coverings in law but expects and recommends that they are work in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with people you don’t normally meet. This includes public transport and dedicated transport to school or education settings.
In the event of a substantial increase in the number of positive cases in a school, a director of public health might advise the school that face coverings should temporarily be worn in communal areas or classrooms (by staff and visitors, unless exempt).
You must ensure that in line with school policy you ensure you and pupils maintain personal care and wash hands regularly and use sanitiser. This will normally include:
- On arrival at the school
- On return from breaks
- when changing rooms
- before and after eating
Frequent and thorough hand cleaning should be regular practise for staff and pupils.
When to self-isolate
Self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test as soon as possible if you have any of these 3 symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
You should also self-isolate straight away if:
- you’ve tested positive for COVID-19
- someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive (unless you are not required to self-isolate – check below if this applies to you)
- you’ve been told to self-isolate following contact with someone who tested positive
When you do not need to self-isolate
- you’re fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine given by the NHS
- you’re taking part or have taken part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial
- you’re not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
Rules on close contact
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you should tell people you’ve been in close contact with in the past 48 hours that you might have COVID-19. They do not need to self-isolate unless they’re contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service but should take a PCR test.
Those who are double jabbed or aged under 18 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. Instead double-jabbed individuals and under 18s who are identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible but will not be required to self-isolate while they wait for the results of the PCR test.
How long to self-isolate
If you test positive, your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day you had the test, if you did not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days. You may need to self-isolate for longer if you get symptoms while self-isolating or your symptoms do not go away.
Rules on travel to England from abroad
In the event of travel to England or a holiday abroad and a return to England staff are required to follow the rules in relation to countries listed as red, amber or green for coronavirus (COVID-19).
Due to the frequent changes to the listings for countries in the event of travel please check the latest Government guidance.
Please be aware that if you are required to self-isolate or quarantine after travel you are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
If you cannot work because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
You could get SSP if you are self-isolating because:
- you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19
- you have been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19
- someone in your support bubble has coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
- you’ve been advised by a doctor or healthcare professional to self-isolate before going into hospital for surgery
If eligible for SSP you will receive £96.35 per week in line with SSP Government SSP rules.
Support and resources
Teachers can access the free https://www.minded.org.uk/ , which contains materials on peer support, stress, fear and trauma, and bereavement.
MindEd have also developed a coronavirus (COVID-19) staff resilience hub with advice and tips for frontline staff. https://covid.minded.org.uk/
Updated 1st September 2021
Connex Education Partnership continues to closely monitor all guidance in relation to COVID-19 from Public Health England, the DfE in relation to the management of risk and specifically the education sector.
Our approach to the provision of temporary education staff will continue to follow the changing guidance with the express aim of protecting our staff and the education settings in which they work.
Provision of temporary workers (placements or interviews)
We have clearly communicated with our workers the requirement for them to follow government guidelines on managing their personal risk of infection and the requirements for them to notify us in relation to their own personal circumstances.
This guidance has been updated ahead of the new academic year following the changes in guidance in July and August.
In the event of one our temporary workers being required to self-isolate worker file will be placed on Temporary Block for the appropriate period. On return from a period of self-isolation workers will be required to confirm that their isolation period has not been extended as a result of a positive test or the development of symptoms.
Each time our staff accept an assignment with Connex Education Partnership they are provided with a link to our staff policy.
Current COVID-19 protocols in line with guidance
- No assignments offered during period of self-isolation
- In the event of the worker having worked on assignment in the 10 days prior to diagnosis the clients concerned will be informed immediately
- Observe self-isolation protocols in the event of travel to listed destinations
When on assignment our staff are required to follow the individual policies of the education establishment or as directed by permanent staff on site. Connex Education Partnership is happy to assist in providing client policies to temporary staff prior to their arrival.
Subject to change.
We are committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of our agency workers and supporting the efforts of our partner education settings to protect their staff and pupils as far as is reasonably practicable. The information in this policy and provided to our staff is subject to change without notice in line with Government guidance.