Over the last few months, Coronavirus has impacted us all, from the key workers risking their lives to provide vital services, to those who have lost their lives or loved ones. For many there are the stresses of lost jobs or income - and then there are the Children. From toddlers to teenagers, who for the past few months have been unable to go to nursery or school, interact with their friends, enjoy new learning experiences or take part in their extra-curricular activities.
With the Government announcing plans to gradually reopen the schools, while this is welcome news for all involved, there is an enormous amount of preparation required to ensure schools can adhere to the new health and safety guidelines provided to contain the spread of the virus as much as physically possible. Signage, for both parents and pupils, can help to reinforce key messages surrounding the new social distancing measures, remind kids to keep washing their hands and encourage everyone to ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’. (What signs are required for my school?)
What signs do I need for my school?
Signs are designed to help educate and inform people, using clear simple messages, with bold colours to draw attention. The two most important messages for schools regarding containing Coronavirus focus on hygiene and social distancing and there are numerous signs available for each, varying in the level of detail. The signs aren’t just for pupils, there are also a number of signs for parents who might be picking up or dropping off their children, to remind them to adhere to the social distancing measures.
Hand Wash Signs and Locations for Schools
Preventing the spread involves dealing with both direct transmission (e.g. when in close contact with someone who is sneezing or coughing) and indirect transmission (e.g. touching contaminated surfaces). As well as minimising contact with those who are unwell or displaying any symptoms, the key to slowing/stopping the spread is cleaning hands more than usual – which is even more prevalent in schools, with children maybe not always aware of what they have or haven’t touched. Signs reminding children to wash their hands are varied, from a very simple image and key message, to a more detailed step by step guide. Signs need to be placed by all sinks, with the option to place additional signage around the school to act as a reminder as the children move around the school. See all our hand washing signs here.
Use Hand Sanitiser Signage
To further prevent the spread via indirect transmission, hand sanitiser can be used, particularly when there is not a sink nearby, most likely in classrooms and other learning environments. Further advice has been provided by the Government to help reduce the spread of the virus, including removing unnecessary items from classrooms and other learning environments, removing soft furnishings and soft toys that are hard to clean and cleaning surfaces that children and young people are touching, such as books, desks and chairs, more regularly than normal. See all our hand sanitiser signage here.
General School Social Distancing Signage
One of the key messages throughout this period of uncertainty has been to maintain social distance outside the house at all times – whether it’s taking a walk in the park, doing your weekly food shop or perhaps running an errand for a vulnerable member of the family. While it’s not going to be easy to keep children 2 metres apart, where possible, schools are encouraged to do so, through a number of measures, including smaller class groups, considering any lessons that can be taught outside, staggering assemblies and break times, as well as drop off and collection times. Signs encouraging social distancing measures of 2m can be utilised both indoors and outdoors - we have a great range of ‘Keep Two Metres Apart’ Signs and stickers to reinforce the social distancing measures that have been introduced. As time goes on, it is likely that the rules on social distancing will change and it is advised that schools regularly refresh their health and safety advice for children to keep in line with any new measures. To see the current Government guidelines, check here. See all our social distancing signs here.
General Hygiene and Infection Signs
In addition to the signage for hand washing and social distancing, there is also a range of signs surrounding general hygiene, with the most prevalent message ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’. By minimising the risk of direct transmission, the chance of infection is substantially reduced. There are a number of other measures surrounding general hygiene, with actions that children and young people, their parents and those work with them can take during the outbreak to help prevent the spread, including minimising contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have symptoms do not attend schools or any other childcare settings. In addition, using hand sanitiser on both arrival and departure provides further protection from risk of infection. See all our general hygiene signs here.
School Car Parking and School drop off zone signs
The measures being put in place in schools across the country are not just for children and for teachers but also for parents, who have a key role to play in minimising the risks. With parents doing the school run twice a day, and some walking their children to their classrooms, others dropping their kids off at the gate and some dropping them from afar, there is a new level of management required to ensure parents adhere to the social distancing rules throughout the school run journey. Schools have been advised to tell all parents that if their child needs to be accompanied to the education or childcare setting, only one parent should attend. Schools should also make it clear to parents that they cannot gather at entrance gates or doors and consider creating timeslots for drop off and collection. To assist with this process, there are numerous signs which can inform and direct, including directional arrow signage and traffic cones if there are any changes to car parking and the designated drop off zones, as well as external social distancing signage for parents walking to and from the school. Maintaining regular contact with parents throughout this new and unpractised process will allow for the reinforcing of key messages and the ability to update them as and when things change. See our car parking signage here. There is no doubt that the return to school will be a relief for parents and children alike but with it comes an inevitable concern surrounding the potential risks involved. Creating thorough health and safety procedures to manage this process, alongside the relevant signage to educate, remind and inform, will ensure best practice and reduce the risk of transmission across the school population.