Should you be social distancing in your classroom?

As Australia slowly rolls back restrictions and students head back to class, many teachers have been left wondering how they will maintain social distancing while at school.

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As Australia slowly rolls back restrictions and students head back to class, many teachers have been left wondering how they will maintain social distancing while at school.

Since April the Prime Minister has claimed that standard social distancing practices required outside of the home don’t apply in classrooms. After all, they’d be quite difficult to implement with 8-year-olds.

But within schools more generally — particularly with adults — these practices are important. Teachers need to keep a 1.5 metre distance from colleagues and other adults, along with other standard practices like hand washing and sneezing into tissues. 

Schools are making this a little easier for teachers, with staggered drop offs for students; limitations on the number of adults, aside from teachers and school staff, who are allowed to come inside the school; and increased cleaning practices. 

But some teachers still feel a little uncomfortable with the lack of social distancing happening in the classroom. 

On the one hand, we don’t want to slow down learning by completely eliminating learning experiences we know are valuable for students. But on the other, we want to keep ourselves, families and school communities safe.

So what exactly should we be doing in our classrooms? How can we make it safer for ourselves and our students? Staying 1.5 metres away might be hard, but keeping it clean is possible. Here’s our top four quick tips for a clean classroom. 

Tip 1. Have hand sanitiser handy

Make sure you’ve got a good supply of hand sanitiser that you can place in various locations around your classroom. Encourage students to use it as they enter and exit the classroom and as necessary throughout the day. You can also carry a small bottle on you to use while on yard or bus duty, or whenever you’re out of the classroom. 

Tip 2. Disinfect surfaces

Increased cleaning in schools means that most classrooms will be disinfected regularly, but if you think a surface needs a clean after a particular activity, like a whole-class game or a meeting with a colleague,  you want to be able to wipe it down. Having some disinfectant spray or wipes on hand makes this easy. 

You can use these products on resources like counters or commonly touched surfaces like bin lids and door handles.

It’s also a good idea to keep surfaces tidy to make them easier to clean. When there’s clutter on desks or tables, you’ve got to constantly move it to clean. Keeping things packed away also means there’s less surfaces to touch. 

Tip 3. Tissues

Students and teachers alike are encouraged to use tissues when sneezing or coughing to keep germs at bay, so make sure there are plenty of tissue boxes around your classroom for everyone to use. It’s also important to have bins with lids, to keep tissues contained. 

Tip 4. Limit shared resources

Where possible, ensure students have their own set of resources to use in the classroom so they don’t have to share. Things like pens and pencils, calculators, and textbooks. In cases where shared resources are needed, make sure students use hand sanitiser before touching and disinfect after use. 

To download our COVID safety with Gromo posters for free, click below.

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Thanks for your interest. We will occasionally let you know about other valuable content from the Maths Pathway Media Library and Blog – and we won’t be offended if you choose to unsubscribe!

Note – you only have to do this once so your next downloads will be quicker.

To purchase the printed versions of our COVID safety with Gromo posters, click below.

COVID Safety Primary School Poster

COVID Safety Secondary School Poster

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