The recent re-opening of schools has seen school leaders learn to apply pandemic risk assessments – something missed from the training courses – and naturally lots of people have different opinions and understanding of how things should or should not operate.

With our risk assessments we did what any sensible school would do – we consulted with the experts. This meant the DfE’s guidance, Staffordshire County Council, and the specific support of our external Health & Safety company. Every event, process and system is matched against the guidance and appropriate standards applied.

With our recent COVID case we did what any sensible school would do – we consulted with the experts. This means Public Health England and we followed their guidance to the letter. This involves two conversations on the day and also a follow-up email (see below) qualifying what was expected.

This is what they laid out for us:

  1. The person with the confirmed COVID-19 result must self-isolate at their home for 10 days from the first date their symptoms started. They can return to school on day 11 if they have no fever symptoms on day 9 and day 10 and are feeling better.

In place.

  1. Their household members will need to self-isolate for 14 days from the person’s onset date of symptoms.

 In place.

  1. All contacts with the person whilst infectious will need to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last contact date with the person who tested positive.

In place.

  1. The default should NOT be to self-isolate the whole class or bubble in a secondary setting,

 Applied – though not to say a large group won’t be affected in the future.

  1. School to look at the student timetable to identify classes during the infectious period.

 Done – our timetable is on our IT system and can be checked quickly.

  1. School to look at seating plans. Identify contacts as children who sat within 2 metres of the case during their infectious period in school

Done – every class has a seating plan on our IT system and can be checked quickly.

  1. Check friendship groups. Identify contacts as children who have had face to face contact with in their friendship groups during their infectious period.

Done – we interviewed the student involved and this was applied to communal areas, Year assemblies (though tutor groups apply), and out-of-school activities.

  1. Identify if staff members identified by the case or by the staff themselves who have had close contact with the case during the infectious period? (Use the standard contact definitions for this)


  1. Identify if any other people who have they had face to face contact with them at break times or in other group activities such as sport or music lessons? This should be specific identifiable individuals rather than whole groups for whom contact cannot be ruled out.



More generally, they reminded us to encourage hand-washing, hand sanitiser, coughing into tissues, etc – all the well-known guidance.

Matt Allman, Headteacher, said: “There are lots of rumours flying around and so many people know part of the story. We focus on applying the requirements from the horse’s mouth (Public Health England) and wanted to share them with parents to maintain confidence and transparency. The next few months are going to be a challenge – it would be naïve to think we will all escape this virus – but we will hold our position of learning from partner schools and following the expert advice we receive.”