Despite a second national lockdown this winter, schools, colleges and unis are staying open. However, this time they are armed with a better understanding of Coronavirus and effective safety measures that help stop it spreading.
The Government’s rationale for keeping these places open is that the increased risk of transmission is outweighed by the negative impact on children's development and loss of learning.
Most colleges and universities have transitioned to remote learning, which is a one-stop solution for eliminating the issue. It is harder for primary and secondary schools to adapt in this way, but credit to their commitment, they have shown it can be done.
We have seen the hard work that has gone into making schools COVID-19 secure. We want to celebrate the innovative ways that local schools have adapted and how proud we are to work with them.
Everyone has heard of virtual meetings and interviews, but what about virtual assemblies? Assemblies build a sense of community among students and teachers, as well as promoting positive behaviours and celebrating achievements.
Unfortunately, gathering all pupils in one place is no longer feasible. Schools have adapted by implementing virtual assemblies, with students watching along at home. Some have even enlisted help from well-known figures such as The Archbishop of Canterbury and Kate Middleton. Virtual assemblies are a great way to keep up engagement and can be re-watched at any time.
Installing environmental signage is one of the official recommendations by Public Health England. Floor markings, hygiene reminders and social distancing signs provide helpful reminders for staff, students and parents.
Our design team have aided schools by creating custom signage that is fully customised with their unique messaging and identity. The pop-ups, banners and branded signs make it easier and more likely for pupils to follow guidelines.
Schools have taken many precautions to avoid coronavirus cases, but is impossible to control completely. With so many people from different households, it is likely that a student will catch it at some point, or be told to isolate due to close contact.
Isolating students means a loss of learning, which was the very thing we were trying to prevent by keeping schools open... or does it? Another digital adaption that schools are using is video-classes.
Video-classes are the perfect way for isolating students to carry on learning. Our digital team have helped schools in Barnsley by creating landing pages for each class, featuring remote learning content such as videos, presentations and other learning activities.
Picking-up and dropping-off time presents a challenge for schools. These are points of the day where there are the most amount of people on-site and the risk of transmission is highest. Packed corridors are also an issue as pupils make their way between each classroom.
Educational institutions have addressed these issues by introducing staggered start and learning times. Each school's approach is different, but in general, schools have changed their schedule to minimise the risk. Classes running to different schedules gets rid of the congestion in corridors, while different start/finish times reduce the number of parents congregating in the playground.
Visiting a school or college has an important influence on where parents send their children. They give prospective parents an idea of the facilities, buildings and a positive atmosphere within an organisation. Coronavirus has impacted this too, as schools are required to limit the number of visitors they have.
Virtual school tours are the main way that schools have adapted to this problem. Virtual tours take would-be visitors on an engaging tour through school premises, communicating to parents why they should be sending their child to that school. Any time. Anywhere.
Our virtual school tour service has been well received by school staff, who are keen to promote their educational offering while remaining COVID-19 compliant. Here is what one of our lovely clients had to say about the service and working with us:
“We spend hours each year welcoming new, potential parents and COVID put our all-important ‘first impression’ at risk too. Within hours of contacting awesome, we had a clear plan that was creative, fun and ticked all of the necessary boxes. I am delighted with the final product and it has received excellent feedback from parents, staff and Governors.”
- Lee McClure - Headteacher at Springvale Primary School, Barnsley
The work we carry out with educational organisations has given us an insight into the careful planning and bold strategies that have gone into keeping our schools open. The pace at which they have adapted is impressive, especially Mr McClure and his team at Springvale Primary School, whose quick thinking reduced their workload by over 50 hours with a virtual tour solution.
awesome. have supported schools by providing consultancy services, discovering ways to maintain a normal operation and implementing them. In addition to this, we have continued delivering our standard services, such as website updates to keep parents in the loop and branding updates to promote key workers.