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Covid policy

Updated 3rd March 2021

COVID-19 Worker guidance for school re-opening

Following the Government announcement that all schools will re-open on the 8th of March, Connex Education would like to outline our guidance for our staff ahead of a return to the classroom.

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.

The latest Government guidance on the return of schools clearly states that there are no restrictions on supply teaching and support staff.

The ‘Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance’ February 2021 states the following for schools in relation to the use of supply staff.

  • You can continue to use supply teachers and staff
  • Supply staff can move between schools
  • Supply staff must follow the school’s arrangements for manging and minimising risk based on the system of controls
  • They should have access to information on safety arrangements and provided with this as soon as possible after the booking


Current Government policy on COVID-19 vaccination does not include consideration for occupational groups, there is therefore no priority for education professionals. The immunisation program continues to be based upon an age-based approach.

The Government targets are as follows.

Phase 1           Over 50’s – offered the vaccine by April 15th

Phase 2           Those in the bracket of 40 to 49

Phase 3            Those in the bracket of 30 to 39

Phase 4            Those in the bracket of 18 to 29

At present the vaccines are not approved for the use of children.

While Connex Education would welcome the prioritisation of vaccinations for those in the education sector sadly we are unable to influence this process or change the likely phase of vaccination for staff.

There is no requirement for anyone to have the vaccine, neither is it a requirement to work within an education setting.


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.

Please be aware that with the return of schools from the 8th of March Connex is not currently offering a furlough scheme to workers.

If you have been classified as clinically extremely vulnerable or have been contacted to inform you that you are on the Shielding Patient List, please inform us if you wish not to be considered for work.

Risk assessments

Schools have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to protect staff, pupils, and others from coronavirus (COVID-19). They are required to implement sensible and proportionate control measures which follow health and safety hierarchy of controls to reduce the risk to the lowest practicable level. Risk assessments must be in place, reviewed and updated regularly.

We will request copies of risk assessments from schools for our staff and either ensure we provide them, or you are provided with them on arrival. All Connex Education staff on placement are required to follow the policies and procedures in place at a school while on assignment.

Use of face coverings

Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance February 2021 outlines the recommended circumstances for the use of face coverings.

  • Where pupils in year 7 and above are educated, it is recommended that face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained. Face coverings do not need to be worn by pupils when outdoors on the premises.
  • It recommends that face coverings should be work in classrooms or during activities unless social distancing can be maintained. This does not apply in situations where face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise, for example PE lessons.
  • In primary schools, they recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and adult visitors in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible (for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas). Children in primary schools no not need to wear a face covering.
  • Face visors or shields should not be worn as an alternative to face coverings.

(These measures in relation to face coverings are currently in place until Easter but are under constant review by the Government)

Schools will have a supply of face covering but all Connex Education staff should ensure that they have face coverings with them on assignments and follow school policies for use when on site.


Personal care

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.

Bubbles and measures within the classroom

All teachers and staff can operate across different classes and year groups to facilitate the delivery of the timetable and specialist provision. Where staff need to move between groups, they should try and keep their distance from pupils and other staff as much as they can, ideally 2 metres from other adults.

Staff must ensure that the school policy on bubbles and pupil grouping is always adhered to.


COVID-19 testing

About 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not have symptoms but can still transmit the virus. Regular testing is therefore an important part effort to help stop the spread of the virus. The following people in England will have access to regular rapid lateral flow testing when schools reopen.

  • secondary pupils (via school)
  • primary and secondary school staff (via school)
  • household’s childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary-age pupils
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary staff

It is expected that many schools will extend the lateral flow testing to supply staff when on long-term assignment which will help protect you and all those within the school.

In addition, you may well be eligible for regular lateral testing through your home circumstances.

How to obtain test kits

Take a test at a rapid lateral flow test site – you may need to book an appointment

COVID Test Finder (test-and-trace.nhs.uk)

Collect test kits

You can collect 2 packs of home test kits at a local collection point. Each pack contains 7 tests.

COVID Test Finder (test-and-trace.nhs.uk)

Order home test kits online

If you are unable to get tested through a school or are unable to go to a test site or collect test kits, you can order a home test kit online.

Schools testing: Order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow home test kits – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


What twice-weekly testing involves

You will be asked to

  • take a test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days apart)
  • report every test result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day you take the test

Report a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)    or call 119

What to do if you test positive or get coronavirus symptoms

  • self-isolate immediately
  • Inform us of your positive test as we may be required to inform schools
  • get a PCR test to confirm the result


When to self-isolate

Self-isolate immediately if:

  • you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • you have tested positive for coronavirus
  • someone you live with has symptoms or test positive
  • someone in your support bubble has symptoms and you have been in close contact with them since their symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started
  • someone in your support bubble has symptoms and you have been in close contact with them since their symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started
  • someone in your support bubble tested positive and you have been in close contact with them since they had the test or in the 48 hours before their test
  • you have been told you have been in contact with someone who tested positive
  • you arrive in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk


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 do not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days.

Anyone you live with will also need to self-isolate at the same time.

You may need to self-isolate for longer if you get symptoms while self-isolating or your symptoms do not go away.

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 coronavirus
  • you have been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that you have been in contact with someone with coronavirus
  • someone in your support bubble has coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
  • you have been advised by a doctor or healthcare professional to self-isolate before going into hospital for surgery

You could also get SSP if you have been advised to shield because you are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

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 30th September 2020

Connex Education Partnership continues to closely monitor all guidance in relation to COVID-19 from Public Health England, the DfE and the World Health Organisation 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.

Due to the at times rapidly changing guidance Connex Education Partnership will review its COVID-19 measures on a weekly basis or as deemed appropriate in line with local or national circumstances.

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.

Our temporary workers must inform us immediately if.

  • They are diagnosed with COVID-19
  • They have symptoms of COVID-19 or suspect they have the symptoms
  • They live with someone that has contracted COVID-19
  • They live with someone that has symptoms of COVID-19
  • They are advised by the NHS track and trace service to self-isolate
  • They receive a notification from a GP, hospital, or any medical professional to shield or they have been identified as someone with high risk of developing complications from COVID-19 infection
  • They have taken a trip outside the UK and are required to self-isolate for a specific period on return in line with Government guidance

In the event of one of the above scenarios our temporary workers will be advised to follow government guidance in relation to self-isolation and their worker file placed on Temporary Block for the appropriate period. Our comprehensive safeguarding system will then ensure this worker cannot be place into any assignments during this 14 day period of self-isolation or until we obtain confirmation of a negative test.

(From 5th October people in England will be required by law to self-isolate if they test positive or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace. This law has been introduced to ensure compliance with self-isolation rules and reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Fine will apply those breaching the self-isolation rules)


All staff are required to carry a face covering with them on assignment or interviews and use it as directed by the education establishment OR to inform us at the point of accepting an assignment if they are unable to do so. Our staff are expected to obtain a copy of and adhere to the risk assessment/policies (at all times) of each education setting they attend.

Each time our staff accept an assignment with Connex Education Partnership they receive an automated reminder in relation to the above as part of the assignment confirmation.


Current COVID-19 protocols in line with guidance

  • Any worker found to have contracted COVID-19 will not be placed into an assignment and advised to self-isolate for 10/14 days as appropriate
    • 10 days – From onset of symptoms OR proof infection
    • 14 days – For all other scenarios
  • No assignments offered during period of self-isolation
  • In the event of the worker having worked on assignment in the 5 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.

All staff are referred to the Government Track and Trace app within our staff policy.

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.

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