College staff don’t need protective equipment, new government guidance states

College staff do not require personal protective equipment, new government guidance has stated.

The guidance also warns cleaning items such as soap “may be rationed” as the supply chain dries up, and rules out any future coronavirus testing for all educational staff.

A document on ‘implementing social distancing in education settings’, updated this morning, states “scientific advice indicates that educational staff do not require personal protective equipment”.

“This is needed by medical and care professionals providing specific close contact care, or procedures that create airborne risk, such as suctioning and physiotherapy, for anyone who has coronavirus (COVID-19), and is displaying symptoms.”

If you are “not providing this care to someone with the virus, and displaying symptoms, PPE is not needed”, the guidance adds.

It comes despite calls from MPs for school and college staff to be given “priority access” to such equipment.

However the guidance instead states the advice for schools, colleges and childcare settings is to “follow steps on social distancing, handwashing and other hygiene measures, and cleaning of surfaces”.

This is because, the guidance states, the virus that causes Covid-19 is “mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air. They quickly fall on floors or surfaces.”

However the guidance states some children, and those with special educational needs, “may be unable to follow social distancing guidelines, or require personal care support”.

“In these circumstances, staff need to increase their level of self-protection, such as minimising close contact (where appropriate), cleaning frequently touched surfaces, and carrying out more frequent handwashing.”

The Department for Education said it will “shortly publish additional advice for settings caring for children and young people with complex needs”.

Some cleaning items ‘may be rationed’

The guidance states the Department for Education has been working with public sector buying organisations to “understand and address supply chain issues relating to hygiene and cleaning products for state-funded provision”.

It adds: “At this time, the supply chain has flagged that for some products there are reduced volume deliveries, and less frequent deliveries, which means some items may be rationed.

“They are seeking to find alternatives to any products which are out of stock.”

Testing for all staff WON’T be rolled-out

The guidance states that testing has been prioritised for those most at risk of severe illness from the virus, those in hospital care for pneumonia or acute respiratory illness “will be the priority”.

It states is a “member of staff becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough, or a high temperature, in an education setting, they should be sent home and advised to follow the staying at home guidance”.

The guidance states that “wider testing is being rolled out, and priority lists will be set for this”.

It adds: “If critical workers, including education and childcare staff, are tested, this will not be for all staff, but rather for staff with symptoms, in order to enable them to go back to work if they test negative.”

Last month, schools and colleges were told they must keep campuses open to vulnerable children and those of “key workers” indefinitely, including during the holidays where possible, while most people go on an unprecedented nationwide shutdown.

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  1. Catherine

    I am extremely surprised by this information in relation to PPE equipment for schools and colleges. I personally feel the government are giving out mixed messages to the public – where this suits. Social distancing for the majority; but then its ok for people to work at schools and colleges (often in close contact)? Everyone is aware that there is insufficient PPE equipment (particularly masks) for everyone but this does not mean it is ok to say that it is not necessary; just because the equipment is not there. As far as i am concerned the more responsible action of the government would be to tell people now to make their own safety equipment; including masks. I am aware that any masks would not conform to the same standards as used by nursing staff but, regardless of the quality, if everyone wore something; the virus would not be spread as easily. In countries where the virus is slowing – the one thing in common seems to be that everyone wears a mask everywhere.

  2. T.Bentley-Brown

    It is totally impossible to social distance in a college setting, with totally full classes and two way traffic in corridors. Students rarely place something in front of thier mouths when they cough, or even on occasion when they sneeze. We are constantly being told that younger people are not in as much danger as older people in succumbing to this virus, but this is little comfort to the teachers.
    This government is carrying out an experiment and on this occassion the teachers are the mice. Thier plan is to open up the schools and Colleges and if too many teachers die they will close them again. Teachers should refuse to carry out thier duties without masks, eye ware, and adequate access to hand sanitizers