Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic I have been running a CPD session reasonably regularly called “Practicals in a time of pandemic”, this is a summary of that session along with anonymised contributions from other schools out there:
Tweak the sequencing so fiddly equipment such as the electrical circuit kit or microscopes stays in one bubble for a few weeks at a time, before quarantining for a week and being moved to a different year group bubble.
Marking – we’ve introduced end of chapter feedback assessments – a three page max mini test which can be easily marked and feedback given without having to take student books home.
Students have/will buy their own goggles. CLEAPPS has been very specific about the rigour of how goggles should be washed between uses, however the proposed process would be impossible to maintain for our science team. As such we are now asking all students to purchase and bring their own goggles to each science lesson.
We have also ensured we have purchased full sets of class textbooks for each year group. This means that textbooks wouldn’t be shared between bubbles.
We have worked hard to continue to ensure practical work. This involved us staggering the topics taught to each year group a lot more than usual, and specific classes being given ‘priority practical weeks’ within a topic, in which this class has the priority to limited or hard to sanitise equipment.
For class practicals we insist on facemasks, with screens being used when they are working around pods/face-to-face.
We have gone to online marking – all HW is set on Class charts and then uploaded to Teams – we are all required to mark in the feedback box
The only exception to this is a tests where we leave it for 72 hours and then mark
We have implemented a COVID risk assessment, this means that we are able to do all practicals at the moment but not Bunsen burners yet… we are working on this one.
COVID Risk Assessment at the end of this document.
Quarantine kit after use.
Liaise with Yr Groups – within Science – practicals completed at similar times,
Look at overall equipment use Eg try to avoid clashes of need for equipment
Manage equipment as per CLEAPSS recommendations. Quarantining where appropriate.
Use demos and practicals that do not require volumes of liquid or electrical power sources to enable practical in non-lab spaces
Use the colour coded slips downloaded from CLEAPSS, each day has its own colour so it’s a good visual aid to when the kit is planned to come out of quarantine.
Move a gratnell rack into the prep room to act as a dedicated quarantine area.
A method for managing this – “In the physics prep room I have 4 large blue bins (deep gratnell trays), labelled as follows: Quarantine In, Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3. On the day of the practical the kit is placed in the In Tray. This moves to day 1 the following day and is then shifted along each day. In reality I just change the labels over and slide the tray along. After day 3 the kit goes back into stock.
As the weeks have gone by the number and quantity of equipment is increasing so the bins are getting quite full at times. I then either disinfect the kit if this is possible or label the tray giving the date the kit is to come out of quarantine. “
Technicians have collated text books should a teacher be out for any reason and a cover teacher is needed. These books are not shared and are labelled and quarantined in the cupboard once used.
Our technician meeting is held earlier on a Wednesday to iron out any conflicts, clarifications, resources or if help is needed to get kit out or in.
An anonymous source was kind enough to share their risk assessment – presented here for information rather than as a definitive.
COVID PRACTICAL RISK ASSESSMENT
KS4 Required Practicals and Demos Only
KS3 Practical if necessary (all practicals requiring Bunsen burners to be modelled)
During practicals all staff and students will be wearing face masks
NO practicals, of any nature, are to be attempted, if Bunsen burners are required – there is not enough time within or between lessons to allow equipment to cool down sufficiently so that it can be handled, picked up and replaced in preparation of the next class entering the room
Students will be working in groups of 4 during practical to minimise number of students moving.
Students will put on masks before placing their chairs under the desks and will be working 4 to a desk, they must always keep their masks on and not move from their allocated space
Students will need very clear vocal, step by step instructions as they will not be able to hear you when you have a mask on during the practical
One student from each group will collect equipment needed, they will approach the front bench in twos from opposite sides of the classroom
Whilst they are collecting equipment the rest of the group will be reading through the method that will be displayed on the board with a picture of the set up.
The teacher will always be in a mask and face shield (not when using a Bunsen Burner) so if necessary, can move about the classroom to assist
Packing away and Cleaning
The same student who collected the equipment will be returning it to the front of the room.
There will be two designated trays marked unused glass and unused plastic please place all unused items in their respective trays. It does not need to have been unhandled just clean
There will be two buckets of Milton provided, one is for used safety specs ONLY the other is for any handled equipment that can normally be washed
There will be a waste bucket provided. Any waste that can be disposed of in classroom should be poured down the classroom drains. Anything else will go into this bucket.
Once the student has returned the equipment, they must sanitise their hands again before returning to their seats.
Students must keep masks on until they are back in their original seats.
Textbooks are grouped into year bubbles, year 7 and 8 have activate
GCSE Textbooks – one class set per year group. This means that books will have to be ordered as there are only one set of each subject available per year group. If you require a textbook and someone else has already ordered them then you will need to photocopy pages required from the teacher books located in the work room.
Until further notice please irrigate pupils/staff eyes with a bottle of saline solution. Do not use the static eye irrigation units in the classrooms