Covid 19 has restricted many of our activities, both personal and professional for 6 months. I know what the restrictions it has meant for autism act, with all face to face work and school visits cancelled and postponed since March.
It was good to be out in 2 schools last week delivering staff training – yes, autism act has been OUT OUT !!! On a serious note, the measures in place in both these schools to keep everyone safe brought home to me again the dedication within this profession to meet ALL needs. Whether these needs are academic, social or making schools safe places for the children to be in.
autism act also has a responsibility to make arrangements to also be safe when visiting schools, whether that is training or consultations. I already take my temperature on a regular basis and for the 2 school training commitments last week, I ensured all equipment was wiped before the training and then wiped again when I get home to make it safe for the next time it is used. I have my own sanitiser, face mask (fabric) and face shield (1/2 face that clips on my glasses). This is the standard practice I have been using and will be using.
However, knowing that I may be visiting a number of schools, I have considered other factors so you feel safe to invite me into your school for face to face work and feel confident to do so.
School visits before Covid
School visits before Covid followed this pattern
- Communication with SENCO before visit to ascertain requirements of the visit
- Classroom, hall, break time, lunch time observation (not always all of those!) to see the child in a variety of school situations
- Feedback to staff – teacher and LSA or SENCO or both
- Meeting with parents
- Report written and sent
Here are the proposed changes to this routine:-
Assessing the risk
I’ve always communicated well with a school before a visit to ascertain the work required. This communication will now include a joint risk assessment of the visit and the parents will need to agree to the visit and the measures being taken to make it Covid safe. The parental permission form now includes a Covid safe statement for parents to sign before the visit.
One school at a time, one bubble at time, one child at a time
I will visit one school a day only. This will ensure I have time to prepare any resources I am bringing with me in a Covid safe way and everything is wiped and sanitised ready for the next school visit.
When in school, I can visit one bubble. I see more than one child if they are in the same bubble. If you have children in different bubbles these will be done on separate visits. Observations can be done outside, through the window of the classroom or in the classroom at least 1 metre distance where possible. I will be guided by the school for the practice they feel most comfortable with.
Feeding back to schools
I can meet staff in the same bubble as the child to be able to discuss next steps in a Covid safe environment (1 metre apart, masks worn, ventilated room). Alternatively, feedback to staff can be done via zoom. It is preferable that this is done the same day or as close to the school visit as possible.
Feeding back to parents
It would be preferable to feedback to parents via zoom, again on the same day if possible. Staff and parents can have a joint zoom feedback session.
A written report will remain a part of a school visit, detailing the observation, views of school and parents and next steps recommendations.
The best package to purchase to meet these needs
There are 2 ways to meet a requested face to face school visit:
- Day visit (and daily rate) is suitable for this type of work. The only differences are the number of children I can see and feedback sessions are done via zoom rather than face to face.
- Purchasing an hourly package gives you more freedom and flexibility, meaning you can book a series of visits over a period of time, enabling the one child at a time scenario to be more manageable.