Response to COVID-19 St Piers is committed to proactively managing the current situation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic so that we can stay open and maintain services for students and long-term residents.
As an education and care provider, St Piers receives a wide range of guidance [see below]: This guidance forms the basis upon which St Piers makes its decisions.
We will remain open, as we have done throughout this pandemic, to provide care and education to the young people entrusted to us. We had anticipated that we would face additional restrictions this term and have tailored the services, such as learning being temporarily based in ‘specific cohort groups’ in both School and College, to ensure they suited the needs of the young people and adults we support while keeping them engaged, safe and well. We continue to review these arrangements to mirror any changing guidance.
Many of the infection control and testing procedures we have put in place are above and beyond those initially recommended by the Government, Public Health England, Department for Education and Care Quality Commission. These high levels of infection control will continue and will be reviewed as we receive further guidance. We have also liaised closely with the Health and Safety Executive [HSE] and utilised their experience and knowledge in terms of best practice.
We continually review our services as we receive guidance around lockdowns and Tiers. Our intention is to run as many of our services as we can in line with guidance.
This outlines our approach to infection control, [including the use of face-masks], social distancing and minimising public access to St Piers and Young Epilepsy sites. A summary of these responses can be seen below.
Specific risk assessments have then been undertaken which have informed how our policies and practices have been implemented in various departments/directorates across the organisation.
In particular, the way in which St Piers services are currently delivered has been amended, with staff and students now operating from within clusters as far as possible to reduce the risk of transmission. In addition, where possible, non-student-facing staff have been supported to work from home.
The situation is monitored on a daily basis and changes are made as and when appropriate.
Summary of our Covid-19 response
St Piers recognises its duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures so that everybody’s health and safety is protected. In the context of COVID-19 this means:
• Operating in specific ‘cluster’ groups to minimise contact with large numbers of people
• Ensuring that all infection control procedures are effective by highlighting the importance of face coverings, regular handwashing, increasing natural ventilation and surface cleaning and by making sure that all of the necessary resources are readily available
• Ensuring that all staff follow social distancing guidelines wherever possible and practicable
• Supporting staff to be able to work from home when appropriate
• Ensuring that all shared offices / meeting spaces have a specific risk assessment in place, staff work back-to-back or side-to-side [rather than face-to-face] whenever possible. Where necessary, screens or barriers are used to separate people from each other, for example in reception areas
• Limiting public access to all St Piers facilities
In all risk assessments, St Piers will pay particular regard to whether people are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
St Piers has adopted a COVID-19 mitigated risk assessment process. As part of this process the organisation will:
a) Follow the hierarchy of control:
b) Consult with the Covid-19 Steering Group and Health & Safety group and elected staff representatives, such as GMB, NEU and NASUWT on:
• Cleaning, sanitising and hygiene practices – to ensure that staff are working safely
• Social distancing – as an important way to reduce of the risk of transmission between people at work
• Organising the workplace – to reduce the likelihood that Covid-19 spreads and to allow everyone to work safely during the outbreak
• Information and guidance – to ensure staff know how to work safely and understand the rules and guidelines
• Wellbeing and support – to ensure that staff feel supported and listened to with their wellbeing looked after whilst continuing to work.
c) Review the risk assessment guidelines regularly, especially if
• New national guidelines are published
• National or local lockdown/Tier restrictions change
• The organisational approach does not work as expected
• The required work/provision approach changes
• Someone in the workplace is diagnosed with COVID-19