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Getting Back to School Safely - Your Reoccupation Checklist
As schools prepare to reopen, school leaders and estate managers have been reviewing and planning their estate management and facility policies so that staff and pupils can return to school safely. From statutory compliance to cleaning protocols, our Covid-19 and Reoccupation checklist outlines vital steps they need to take prior to reoccupation.
To ensure statutory compliance, there are a number of actions you can take, including the following;
- Appoint a member of staff such as a Premises /Estates Manager to manage the premises.
- Allow adequate time for remedial works – not everything will work first time around.
- Carry out risk assessments to protect staff, pupils and others from Covid-19. Consider additional risks and control measures to enable a safe return.
- Bring forward scheduled items to reduce footfall in term time.
- Communicate with all staff to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Implement a process for checking updates in accordance with government guidance.
You should review arrangements for all building-related systems but pay particular attention to the following:
Hot and cold water systems
- Ensure all maintenance & testing is up to date. If maintenance regimes have been reduced, plan additional testing/upgrades.
- During school closures, inactive water systems can increase the risk of Legionnaires’ disease, a rare form of pneumonia. Therefore, it’s important that estate managers identify and control these risks. Prior to occupation, flush systems regularly and check water temperatures.
Gas & Fire safety
- Make sure all maintenance and testing are up to date. If maintenance has been reduced, plan additional testing.
- Review all fire risk assessments in particular open fire doors and movement controls.
- Carry out a full fire detection and safety systems test.
- Arrange a fire drill within the first week of reoccupation.
- Provide guidance and training to all staff ensuring they are aware of any implemented changes.
- According to Health & Safety Executive, good ventilation can help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, so focus on improving general ventilation, preferably through fresh air or mechanical systems such as air conditioning.
- Replace filters and check for leaks.
- Understand what ventilation, air conditioning systems and controls are in place as actions and recommendations vary. You may need to consult with a HVAC engineer.
- Turn off air re-circulating systems and ensure a good supply of fresh air.
Managing your estate prior to reoccupation is crucial to protect the health and wellbeing of all staff and pupils. Here are some steps to carry out prior to re-opening:
- This is an ideal opportunity to implement provisions of Good Estate Management for Schools guidance. From estate maintenance to managing policies and processes, good estate management will help you make the most of your resources, ensure you have everything in one place and address any gaps in your estates plan.
- Review planned and preventative maintenance – check backlog tasks, predict issues/resources shortages following reoccupation.
Internal occupancy protocols
- Review entry and exit points for staff and pupils. Formalise and communicate.
- Implement one-way systems.
- Provide guidance and training to all staff on implemented changes.
Third party protocols
- Review entry and exit points for visitors.
- Carry out initial checks for gateway process.
Facilities management is an important part of the reoccupation process and will help get your estate back up and running as quickly and safely as possible. It’s time to re-evaluate and conduct the following;
- Deep clean prior to reoccupation.
- Pay particular attention to commonly touched surfaces such as door handles and sign in screens.
- Implement enhanced cleaning regimes.
- Remove unnecessary items or cordon off to reduce the amount to clean.
- Review requirements/supplies of PPE such as face masks and disposable plastic aprons for the kitchen.
- Set up sanitising stations throughout the estate, particularly at the school entrance and exit and all W/C facilities.
Estate and grounds
- Cordon off outdoor play equipment that cannot be appropriately cleaned. Put in place barriers to allow different bubbles to use different equipment as required.
- And finally, do one last site check.
By following this checklist, schools and trusts will have all the preventative measures in place to provide a full educational experience for pupils and a safer learning environment that is ready for the future.
To view the full checklist, click here. For more information contact the team on 01279 647111 or email us