The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways schools manage their visitors to prevent the spread of the virus and protect students and staff. To minimise risk, schools are designing and implementing new visitor guidance. We summarise the top ten things to consider when putting a new visitor protocol in place.
Reduce visitor numbers
A good first step is reducing approved visits to one's which are really essential:
Is the face to face contact necessary – can the meeting be done remotely?
Prevent ad hoc visitors, any visitor will need a pre-booked appointment. Consider a visitor management software platform with a pre-booking feature.
If it’s a parental visit, recommend just one parent/carer attends.
Whilst it’s always been best safeguarding practice to record and identify visitors, it’s more important than ever to support any track and trace initiative.
Schedule any appointments outside of normal school start and finish times to minimise contact with students. Advise visitors to arrive at the agreed time so they are not waiting around or congregating on school premises.
Give visitors a clear reminder that they cannot enter school premises if displaying any of the COVID-19 symptoms. A school could place prominent signage to this effect and/or incorporate a symptom checker into the actual sign in process.
Review your visitor touchscreen
Many schools have a visitor touchscreen in reception. Obviously this is a risky touch point for the spread of infection. One option is regular cleaning and providing hand sanitiser after each use Consider using a visitor book system instead which can be completed by Reception staff, or better still, updating to a touchscreen solution which has a contactless option where visitors check-in using their own mobile phone.
Whatever visitor check-in system you put in place, remember you still have a GDPR duty to keep your visitors personal data confidential and not on general display.
Review the school building layout and consider introducing a pedestrian one-way system to support social distancing. This will require different entrance and exit points with supporting directional signage showing people which way to go.
Use signage to communicate school COVID safety measures
As well as writing to parents/visitors and posting information on the school website, use signage to communicate important COVID safety messaging on social distancing and hygiene This is especially helpful to visitors unfamiliar with your school environment.