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Health and Safety for Teachers during Covid-19

Risk Assesement guidance for musicians who teach at home, in studios or in schools.

Last updated: 09 April 2021

The following information applies to all parts of the UK.

Schools, colleges and other settings

If you teach in a school, college or other setting, you should be provided with a Risk Assessment. This should assess risk in relation to the following points and define an appropriate course of action for each:

  • Clear signage throughout the workplace to encourage at least one metre’s social distancing. Areas could be marked using tape to identify one-metre rules, with an internal pedestrian one-way system for any aisles less than one metre, with agreed flow.
  • Cleaning of all touch points at least once a day (more regularly where required) and daily cleaning of all other areas. Full facilities for personal cleaning with instructions (including visual aids) and waste disposal facilities.
  • Provision of handwashing facilities and sanitisers, particularly at entrances and exits.
  • Provision of adequate facilities (e.g. toilets, changing areas, rest areas).
  • Refreshment and rest-area chair numbers limited to maintain one-metre control at all times.
  • An individual risk assessment for any air extraction or air conditioning.
  • Where limited catering facilities are provided, food to be wrapped and disposable cutlery and cups provided.
  • Rooms labelled to identify the maximum number of people to respect social distancing requirements. Minimise the number of meeting rooms/spaces available where possible.
  • Provision of an isolation area where those showing symptoms or feeling unwell can wait until they are able to leave.
  • Staggered start and finish times to reduce contact at work and while travelling to and from work.
  • Controlled and limited access for people visiting or delivering to the place of work.
  • Management of deliveries to minimise contact with other people while loading and unloading. Access for visitors/deliverers to handwashing facilities.

If you are not satisfied with a school’s Risk Assessment, or if there is another reason why you cannot teach in the school, college or setting, you should raise this with the setting or your line manager and ask if there are other options such as online teaching.

Private teaching

Where private teaching is permitted face to face, you should complete a Risk Assessment to protect yourself, anyone else living in the household (if applicable) and your students from harm, and in particular to eliminate or minimise risks of Covid-19 transmission. You should complete your Risk Assessment in line with HSE guidance, identifying protective measures.

A Risk Assessment is still needed in other peoples’ homes, and an agreement needs to be reached as to what is acceptable for both parties considering all the issues listed below.

Your Risk Assessment needs to:

1. Identify what activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus.

2. Consider who might be at risk.

3. Decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed.

4. Act to remove the risky activity or situation, or if that is not possible, control or minimise the risk.

See an example of a part-completed Risk Assessment for teaching work.

See a further example of a Risk Assessment template for teaching work.

What your Risk Assessment should cover

Social distancing

The current default remains two metres. Aim to maximise the distance between yourself and your students in the teaching room. Consider the route into the room for yourself and your students and make access as safe as possible.

Aim to keep any groups as small as possible, taking into account the space available.

The teaching space

Aim to have adequate ventilation in place, using natural ventilation where possible. Position students side to side or back to back (rather than face to face) if possible, and consider the use of barriers or screens.

Avoid any physical contact with the student.

Gloves may be advisable in some circumstances and masks can be considered if practical.

Cleaning

It is absolutely vital to ensure the highest cleanliness standards. Surfaces must be fully cleaned before and after sessions along with door handles, switches, plugs, any instruments used etc.

Toilets and wash basins must be cleaned before and after sessions (when used) with hand cleanser and sanitisers or wipes available in the teaching area (wipes to be disposed of in a foot pedal swing bin). It is advisable to carry hand sanitiser or wipes with you.

Instruments

Usually the student will use only their own instrument. Do not share instruments, mouthpieces, reeds etc.

Where large instruments are used, such as pianos/keyboards/double bass etc., then strict cleanliness regimes are necessary.

Students

Consider the issues surrounding students who are in vulnerable groups, including those with underlying health conditions and those over 70.

Check with students about their health and their situation at home and how they travelled to their lesson (if you are not teaching in their home). Both you and your students should avoid public transport if possible.

Encourage students to pay for lessons using bank transfers to avoid cash transactions.

If the student is under 18, always make arrangements with the parents/guardian.

Managing arrival and departure times

Aim to schedule lessons so that there is time to clean the teaching room between students, as well as minimising the risk of contact of different students and any accompanying persons. Establish how students or you will enter and exit the premises.

Additional considerations

Aim to minimise the joint handling of sheet music and explore using personal phones, tablets etc.

The Government advises use of masks, face coverings and gloves in different situations (e.g. when using public transport). Gloves can protect against contact with surfaces in a work area. If masks are worn they need to be changed regularly and, if they are not disposable, fully cleaned between use periods.