School life with the risk of COVID-19 is going to be very different to how things were before. Lots of changes within the school itself will have taken place in order to ensure social distancing and government guidelines are adhered to. There will also need to have been great consideration for changes to the Science Department technical provision in order to create a COVID-safe environment which allows students to continue to do the beneficial practical work they need.
Checklist for back to school 2020 - science technicians
- Is there sufficient PPE available for all of the technicians in the tech team to feel safe, and also for teaching staff?
- Use of prep room & storerooms – is there enough space to allow for social distancing? If not, measures will need to be put in place to allow for this.
- Chemical Stores – Have your usual annual store checks been completed? Does anything need to be re-ordered? – only 1 person may now have to be in the storeroom at a time if social distancing cannot be adhered to due to the size of the room.
- Have working areas been pre-defined for students within the laboratory? Electrical tape could be used to mark off areas which are out of bounds, or in order to indicate which desks are out of use & what now constitutes as an individual student’s working area.
- A system for the disinfecting of safety goggles after each use will be required.
- Is there access to Alcohol-free hand sanitiser for students to use in Science lessons? Alcohol-based sanitiser poses a fire risk with some Science practical lessons. Students must be told and understand Alcohol-based sanitisers must not be used whilst in the science laboratory.
- If PAT testing occurs over the summer break, are there any items which have failed that need disposal or replacement?
Laboratory Item Stocks:
- Do you have enough glassware stocks to accommodate for individual students to have an equipment tray each?
- Can reagents be pre-weighed so that each student receives the correct amount for the experiment they are completing?
- Can any experiments be reduced to micro-scale so that smaller quantities of reagents are used by students to help to lower any waste?
- Do you have enough trays to allow for one per student?
Social Distancing notices on display for students:
- Are there plenty of notices around the science building in the corridors to show students what is now expected of them whilst they are waiting to enter a laboratory? (e.g. how and where they are now expected to queue to get into each laboratory)
- Is there a plan in place for whole class movement into and out of the laboratory at the start and end of lessons?
- Has the clearing away process been fully indicated to students for once their lesson has finished?
Activities which aren’t yet appropriate to carry out (according to CLEAPSS):
- Students making their own cheek cell slide
- Any experiment which involves blowing (e.g. exhaling air down a straw into Limewater, any peak flow, lung volume & any saliva investigations).
Learn about laboratory safety for back to school 2020
Our team of specialists are on hand to help with any technical support and advice for preparing your school laboratory for September 2020. Give them a call on 0345 120 4521 or e-mail them on firstname.lastname@example.org.