Returning to the Workplace (COVID-19) FAQ

Here you’ll find answers to some specific questions asked about returning to the workplace.

Visit the Returning to the workplace (Education & Families), Returning to the Workplace (All Services) and Returning to the workplace (Employee guidance) articles for more information on this subject.

Ingress/Egress of the building

How will pupils enter and exit the building?

Pupils are not required to social distance as per Scottish Government guidance. However, adults must social distance from other adults within the school/nursery setting. This includes parents, carers and contractors.

Will pupils still be able to line up?

Pupils can line up at their designated areas to enter school as they are not required to social distance. Adults must remain 2 metres apart.

Will there need to be limits on the numbers of pupils and staff entering and exiting the building at the one time? Staggered start and finish times for pupils and staff?

Education & Families to determine and monitor.

Will the authority install hand sanitising stations at the school entrances?

Facility Support Services have placed orders for all schools and these should all be installed upon the entry and exit of the building before August 2020.

What signage will be required at entrances?

Signage is installed in schools on the ground and walls to guide pupils and staff on new procedures.

Should pupils enter the building and then their classroom without touching anything? Can we leave doors open for this purpose?

Education & Families to determine and manage, being mindful of fire safety and security. Fire doors must not be wedged opened. Fire doors can only be held open if they are on an automatic closure system linked to the fire alarm system. Classroom doors can be wedged open as long as a procedure is in place to ensure the door is closed when the room is vacated or in the event of fire evacuation.

Can I wedge open my classroom door?

Yes, as long as a procedure is in place to ensure the door is closed when the room is vacated or in the event of fire evacuation.

Can I wedge open my fire doors?

No, only fire doors which are on an automatic closure system are permitted to be open.

Can we take the magnetic locks off doors to reduce amount of hands touching the same button?

Guidance will be available soon.

School Transport

What will be the guidance on numbers of pupils on the school bus?

To be confirmed by Education and Families.

How will we make sure pupils go on and off the school bus safely?

Pupils are not required to social distance from other pupils and teachers. Education to manage and monitor.

Will pupils from the school bus arrive earlier or later than other pupils?

To be confirmed.

Hygiene and Cleaning

Will schools be cleaned at the end of every day?

Yes, this will be based on a 2 stage process of clean and disinfect, using products that have been independently certified against coronavirus.

Who will be responsible for cleaning throughout the day?

This is being managed by Facility Support Services but additional cleaning processes are in place as well as spraying system that will be undertaken every day which kills 99.9% of bacteria and pathogens on any surface including fabric.

Who will be responsible for making sure that touchpoints are sanitised regularly throughout the day?

Facility Support Services will agree with Education & Families if a day cleaner is required.

Are nurseries getting deep cleaned too?

This is being managed by Facility Support Services but additional cleaning processes are in place as well as a spraying system that will be undertaken every day which kills 99.9% of bacteria and pathogens on to any surface including fabric.

Will day cleaning be reintroduced next session when pupils return to school and will NLC supply disinfectant wipes for cleaning down workstations etc?

This is being discussed with Facility Support Services and information will be available soon.

Will schools be provided with adequate amounts of liquid soap, hand sanitiser, effective cleaning materials prior to staff and then pupils returning to the buildings?

Yes adequate supplies will be provided for the school opening. Following on from this the schools should revert to the original procedures for ordering supplies.

N.B. all bars of soap should be removed and only liquid soap used.

Will advice be issued about the products schools need to order, e.g. handwash/hand sanitizer/etc?

Hand sanitiser is being supplied by Facility Support Services for the return of the Schools and out with this the School will be asked to order and provide what they need thereafter.
Dispensers will be at entrance/exit to building only. Good hand hygiene should be followed within the building (hand washing).You should speak with your Education Manager regarding ordering PPE as there is a central point in place for ordering and distribution.

Hand washing routine?

Recovery group posters will be displayed and schools will manage. Where hand-washing sinks are available in classrooms these will be utilised if spacing allows.

Can sinks that have not previously been regarded as being for hand-washing now be used?

If other sinks are identified and can be equipped to be used, this should be discussed with your Education manager.

We have no sinks in class or corridors, will enough hand sanitiser be provided by Facility Support Services for each class area?

No. Dispensers will be at entrance/exit to building only. Hand sanitiser is not currently planned for each class. You should continue with the hand washing regime that you implemented prior to lock-down.

We have been told that toilets and sinks are required to be cleaned after each use, how do we manage this?

This is being managed by Facility Support Services but additional cleaning processes are in place as well as a spraying system that will be undertaken every day which kills 99.9% of bacteria and pathogens on to any surface including fabric.

With sinks only being available in toilets, is it ok for children to sanitise their hands and not wash them? Is it the school that has to order/purchase the hand sanitiser?

Hand sanitiser is not currently planned for each class. You should continue with the hand washing regime that you implemented prior to lock down.

Can children bring in school bags/uniforms & should we be discouraging school ties?

Education and Families to confirm.

Office/School Building

Classrooms

Do we need to remove excess furniture from rooms and if so, where do we store it?

Yes, excess will be uplifted and stored externally. The Recovery Group is taking the lead on this.

Do we need to remove all shared resources from rooms?

Education & Families to declutter and are working with recovery group on this.

Do children need to stay at their own desks all day?

Education & Families to determine this.

Can schools continue to use fans, as some classes are very warm?

Yes.

What about soft furnishings, are they safe or do they need removed?

Asset management will decide which furnishings/equipment etc should be removed and will arrange for this to be done. Asset management guidance to be issued.

The furniture in PPP Primaries is what defines the class from the corridor. Will temporary partitions be provided when furniture is removed?

Asset management will decide which furnishings should be removed and will arrange for this to be done. Asset management guidance to be issued.

Can natural outdoor sandpits and den building equipment still be used?

This will be looked at and guidance issued.

Open plan has implications for the number of desks that would be right beside a narrow corridor?

Keep left policy implemented. Staff and pupils should keep to the left when moving around the school.

We have been told Engie have had no communication, not to engage with janitors and we have to move furniture etc. Is this correct?

Staff are not expected to move any furniture. Contact your Education Officer if you are unsure.

In working with facility services are you also working with PPP school facilities?

Yes – FSS cleaning staff within PPP schools.

Will asset management be working with PPP schools?

Yes.

Communal Areas (e.g. Dining hall, corridors, playground, cloakrooms, toilets, staff room)

Should there be a one way system around the school communal areas?

Keep left policy implemented whilst maintaining social distancing guidelines.

Will staff breaks have to be staggered to ensure social distancing in staff room?

Yes, breaks will be staggered to ensure 2 metre distancing can be met. Head of Establishment / Centre or Manager will manage staff breaks and advise of appropriate areas available.

How many children can be in toilets at a time? This might not be practical for some schools, depending on size and numbers of toilets they have?

There is no requirement for this now as children do not have to social distance.

Should cloakrooms be used or should pupils just have their jackets in the classroom?

Education & Families will make this decision.

H&S Advisory point – large cloakrooms may be considered for alternative use? Where cloakrooms are in corridors it may not be advisable to use this area and create a gathering point. Consideration to be given if coats can be on chairs without creating a trip hazard. Lower numbers in school may reduce the concerns of using existing cloakrooms.

Would it be possible to have perspex screens for reception areas?

Guidance will be issued.

Can water coolers still be used?

Yes. These will be included in touch point cleaning regime.

Will lunches be available?

Yes. FSS are working on guidance for the safest way to deliver lunches.

What items can still be used in staff rooms/facilities, e.g. fridge, kettle, microwave etc?

Yes, all equipment must be cleaned after each use. Breaks to be staggered to limit number staff requiring access at any time.

If wet, children play in class, Teachers won't want to eat lunch in class and staff room so small would only get 2 people in there with social distancing. There is no other space available?

This is an unprecedented situation you will need to work to address manage of the issues such as use of break areas with staggered times. There will be a lot of questions answered by the asset management document as well as an update to the FAQ’s on myNL.

There is only a handrail on one side of the stairwell, should we still be keeping to one side?

Keep left policy in place. If this is not possible, limited movement and a no stop and talk rule could be implemented.

What if your corridors are not 2 metres in width?

The Recovery group are working on this.

Signage

Will signage been delivered to Family Learning Centre's and markings done for parents coming into building or are we doing it ourselves as parents come into our building?

Signage will be provided and put in place by Asset Management.

Will zoning and signage be done in consultation with Head Teachers and requirements of the school?

Yes, this will be based on requirement identified in the risk assessment. Signage will be provided and put in place by Asset Management.

Who will provide the signage for PPP schools?

Guidance will be available soon.

I only received signage for gates and one sign about hand washing at the door. Should there be more?

Further signage will be provided by Asset Management.

School day / timetable

Can there be extensions to the school day to account for staggered drop offs and pick-ups?

Education & Families to confirm.

Will breaks and lunches need to be staggered?

Education & Families to manage to ensure social distancig is met between adults.

What will be the guidance on staff non-class contact time? Will there be a reduced week for all sectors to allow for NCCT to be given to all staff on a Wednesday afternoon for example?

Education & Families to confirm.

Recovery curriculum

Should planning for this replace our improvement planning for next session?

Education & Families to confirm.

Will we be concentrating on literacy, numeracy and HWB?

Education & Families to confirm.

Face Coverings

Do visitors have to wear face coverings?

Yes. All visitors (anyone who does not normally frequent the premises) are required to wear face coverings i.e. parents/carers. In addition, all visitors MUST sign in and out of the premises with appropriate times noted and relevant contact details to comply with Test & Protect guidance.

Staffing – Education Establishments

Can we have extra staffing built in to our overall capacity this session to allow for staff shortages/cover?

Information will be available soon.

Can we have extra staff to help support the recovery curriculum, especially for those children who will need a lot of support?

Information will be available soon.

How do we backfill if alternative arrangements are made when we have to plan for welcoming pupils back?

Link in with your Business Partner team and they will help with any staffing issues.

If teaching staff are working from home will NLC cover the cost of a temporary staff member?

Those working from home should be utilised as fully as possible. Further guidance on this will be issued.

We are being tasked with maximizing pupil teaching offer from August and planning is already very complex. Without knowing staffing this is incredibly difficult?

Education & Families are aware of this and guidance will be issued as soon as possible.

There are staff that work across schools. What is the advice on moving around the authority?

This is being looked at and information will be available soon.

When will Head Teachers know about their staffing compliment?

This is still in planning at this time.

Can you outline the situation about Probationers?

Probationers have been offered a year’s temporary contract. For Further information contact your Business Partner.

When will staffing be confirmed, e.g. for maternity leave, roll entitlement etc?

This is still in planning at this time.

If offering working from home, this impacts on other staff's workload.  If this is a clerical staff member, do we get someone else in to do their duties?

Link in with your Business Partner team and they will help with any staffing issues.

In the Additional Support Needs section we have some Head Teachers who are shared head over multiple schools. Can the Depute Head Teachers contact the staff rather than the HT?

Yes.

I have a part time janitor, how will the extra cleaning be done?

This is being managed by Facility Support Services. Link in with your Business Partner team and they will help with any staffing issues.

Can you clarify the time children will spend at school from August and what will the weekly pattern be?

Pupils will be back full time by 18th August 2020.

Does the full staffing establishment for a school need to be in?

This is being looked at and guidance will be available soon.

Is there a clear definition for the Additional Support Needs Assistant role in terms of how they will support children or be in a class?

This is being looked at and guidance will be available soon.

What support will there be for children in Additional Support Needs establishments/units with bespoke assessments?

Property & Facility Support Services are looking at bespoke support. Review of RA already in place.

Staffing – all services

What is the guidance on staff who should be shielding?

As per Scottish Government guidance staff who were shielding have now to follow the general public guidance.

Has it been determined how it will be managed when the 12 week period ends for those in the higher risk categories?

The Scottish Government have paused shielding therefore those who were shielding are now to follow the general public guidance.

What is the guidance on staff with caring responsibilities for elderly relatives?

Information will be available soon.

Managing parental expectations

What guidance will be given to parents about dropping off and picking up children?

Education & Families to confirm.

what corporate advice is going out to parents about not being able to enter the yard/school etc?

Advice to parents should be issued by Education & Families.

Expectations on staff

Is it enough to have spoken to everyone on a Teams meeting or do I have to call everyone individually?

If there are individual concerns or circumstances we would suggest you contact the staff member individually but if no issues, the team meeting is perfectly fine.

Dropping off and picking up children

Should we be planning to stagger these? If so in what way? By stage, by family groups?

Education & Families to confirm.

Will each school be given advice on collection and drop-off of children, e.g. P1 pupils as a result of layout of schools?

Education & Families to confirm.

First Aid/Medical guidance

What guidance will there be with regards to administration of medicines and first aid?

Current procedures to remain in place. Refer to TOD team for assistance with renewal of certificates. If current First Aider/Appointed Person is not able to return to work then contact TOD team for available courses.

Will PPE be provided for this?

No change to provision of PPE. Where a specific personal care task is to be carried out refer to Scottish Government/Health Protection Scotland guidance.

What is the guidance if a pupil or member of staff starts to display virus symptoms?

Any staff member becoming unwell or showing signs of NHS categorised symptoms, follow guidance provided within COVID-19 RECOVERY GUIDANCE DOCUMENT FOR HEAD TEACHERS AND HEADS OF CENTRE – Version 3 Issued 10/6/20 Section 15: Testing, Trace and Protect Procedures for Employees
Any child becoming unwell or showing signs of NHS categorised symptoms should be taken to an isolation zone (preferably which is ventilated eg. Open windows) until they can be collected by their parent. Gloves, aprons and a fluid-resistant surgical mask should be worn by staff if a child or young person becomes unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 and needs direct personal care.
Any suspected or confirmed cases of Coronavirus should be escalated immediately to Head of Service and appropriate action and guidance will be provided
Appropriate cleaning of affected area will be carried out by FSS.

When can first aid training take place and will it be online?

This is currently being looked at. Current certification will be extended. Further advice will be issued as soon as possible.

Will temperature checks be put in place?

No Scottish Government guidance has been issued regarding this.

Resources

Should we be providing individual packs of resources so the children do not need to share?

As per Scottish Guidance of 16/7/20 the sharing of equipment /utensils/toys/books should be minimised.

Is there any play equipment allowed at the early level, i.e. P1/2?

Guidance will be issued.

Can pupils use text books/novels?

As per Scottish Guidance of 16/7/20 the sharing of equipment /utensils/toys/books should be minimised.

Digital Capacity

How is this going to be managed?

Education & Families to confirm.

What happens if your school does not have the infrastructure/bandwidth/network/resources to support this fully?

Education & Families to confirm.

Safety & Wellbeing

PPE

Will PPE equipment for schools come out from a central source or will schools be responsible for ordering this?

Facility Support Services will supply for employees/pupils returning. Further stocks will require to be resourced by the school. A central point for PPE has been created and weekly orders are being passed to Hugh Holt.

What are PPE arrangements for staff? e.g. ASNA staff working with young people, supporting to toilet etc.

There is currently no change to the existing PPE requirements, i.e. apron and gloves to be worn.

Will PPE be required for staff first aiders & staff changing children?

There is currently no change to current PPE guidance. If this changes, further advice will be issued.

Can primary staff wear PPE if they feel reassured by this and would this be supplied?

There is no requirement for Teacher’s to wear PPE at this time. Anyone (whether pupil or adult) wishing to wear face protection should be enabled to do so but this will not be supplied by the council.

Even though PPE is not required, if a staff member with an underlying health condition wished to wear PPE to safeguard their health would this be allowed?

Yes.

Risk assessment

Should Family Learning Centres use the same Risk Assessment as schools?

School risk assessments can be used as a guide but must be adapted to suit the setting in line with council and government guidelines. An Early Years & Childcare RA is currently being developed and will be available prior to facilities opening in August.

Where can I find the weekly checklist?

It is available here on myNL.

Support

What regular point of contact will we have from NLC to support us daily as we will have a dynamic situation?

Education managers/CIO’s will provide support. A dedicated phone line has also been provided.

Testing

Who arranges a test if staff say they have symptoms?

The Head Teacher. Details on how to arrange a test are available here on myNL.

Are the test referrals through the Head Teacher very detailed and time consuming?

No, very little details are required. Details on how to arrange a test are available here on myNL.

If a child tests positive what will the procedure be for that class or school?

Guidance will be issued as soon as possible.

Will schools be closing in relation to confirmed corona virus in population?

No guidance has been issued regarding this at present. It is not expected.

12 week categories return to work

What if a staff member lives with someone who is shielding with letter, is there specific guidance for them?

Shielding has been paused by the Scottish Government.

Do staff within the 12 week (vulnerable) category remain at home (also referred to as Cat2)? Should we refer to HML for them to return? (inc underlying health conditions, pregnancy & over 70's). Can they choose to return to work?

Scottish Government has paused shielding and those who were shielding must adhere to the general public guidelines. The guidance is still work from home were possible.

What is the expectation around HML referrals for staff? What guidance will be given?

Guidance on how to process an HML referral is available on myNL.

What if the person does not want to return but have no shielding letter from the government?

They should discuss any concerns they have with their manager as soon as possible and try to reach an agreement on their return.

If following discussions and consideration of options available such as annual leave, unpaid leave, home working, flexible working, have been exhausted and they are still not able to return but are fit to do so, their manager will need to consider what action to take next.

Further information is available here.

I am not sure about where to find clarification for extremely high risk and high risk categories?

Information regarding extremely vulnerable (shielding) & employees who are vulnerable (underlying health conditions/pregnant/over 70) can be found on myNL.
However, Scottish Government has paused shielding across Scotland.

Can a staff member, who has been shielding, with no GP letter, return next week without referral to HML?

Scottish Government have advised shielding has paused and the most update to date guidance from the council must be followed.

Can GP's tell staff they are ok to come back without a HML referral?

As long as a medical professional has given the employee the advice to do so.

Do GP's have to contact managers to say that staff are fit to return?

No, GP’s may have given the employee this advice but it is not necessary for them to contact managers.

Updated on 18th August 2020

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