Schools: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 18th September 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) pupils and (b) teaching staff have access to appropriate (i) equipment, (ii) sanitiser and (iii) personal protective equipment in response to the reported rise in covid-19 cases.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Department has worked closely with Public Health England (PHE) to publish comprehensive guidance to all schools and colleges on a system of controls which, when implemented, create an inherently safer system where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced. The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The majority of staff in schools and colleges will not require personal protective equipment (PPE) beyond what they would normally need for their work. Additional PPE is only needed when in close contact with those with COVID-19 symptoms. Guidance on the use of PPE in education settings is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

Schools and colleges are responsible for sourcing their own PPE and cleaning products. In addition to existing procurement routes, the Government has launched the Crown Commercial Service safer working supplies website and promoted public sector buying organisations through which schools and colleges can access PPE and cleaning products.

To further build resilience across the education sector to respond to any suspected cases arising in schools and colleges, the Department has worked with the Department of Health and Social Care to deliver a one off distribution of PPE to them. The delivery contained clinical face masks, aprons, gloves and visors, as well as the hand sanitiser needed to put on and take off PPE. This PPE has been provided free of change by the DHSC to be used for COVID-19 related purposes in line with the Department’s guidance.

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