School to teach five-hour long lessons on same subject to help with social distancing

Christel Deskins

PA Teachers will hold five-hour long lessons on the same subject at a Leicestershire school in an attempt to boost social distancing when students return in September. The Government set out a range of measures to protect children and staff from the spread of coronavirus ahead of September when schools […]

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PA

Teachers will hold five-hour long lessons on the same subject at a Leicestershire school in an attempt to boost social distancing when students return in September.

The Government set out a range of measures to protect children and staff from the spread of coronavirus ahead of September when schools have been told all pupils must return to the classroom.

Under the guidance, teachers have been advised to distance from each other and older students where possible, with year groups kept in separate “bubbles”.

Manor High School in Oadby has said it will teach day-long lessons on the same subject to avoid students having to move from classroom to classroom during the day.

The school told the Times how it has drawn up a fortnightly cycle of all-day lessons with students learning Maths, English, Science, Geography and Thursday on separate days of the week.

Headteacher Liam Powell said: “The basic principle is to avoid pupil and staff movement and to comply with Government instructions for all children to return full time.

“The school was built in 1968 and doesn’t really allow for pupils to move with distance between lessons.

“The idea is to run a fortnightly timetable with day-long lessons. So on a Monday they will have maths and it will last for the whole day, while a different class might have French all day.

“Less movement will allow a top-to-bottom clean of the school, which would be impossible if they were moving around five times a day. It might be that we come out of this and think whole-day lessons are really good.”

Teachers at the Oadby school are encouraged to think up creative ways to make the long lessons less “strenuous” for the students by introducing various styles and topics of learning.

After 50 days the five-hour long lesson plan will be reviewed to see whether it works for the students.

​“A whole day of single subjects online is easier,” said Mr Powell. “It’s a leap into the unknown but we have thought about it.”

Hastings High School, also in Leicestershire, is introducing a similar plan, reports the Times.

Under the new Government guidance primary school “bubbles” of pupils will increase from 15 to about 30 and in secondary schools they could include the whole year group.

Rules will minimise contact in corridors, cleaning will be more frequent, and more handwashing encouraged. The use of shared items will be reduced. Attendance will be mandatory, though, headteachers have made clear that at least initially parents will not be fined for not sending their children to school.

If a pupil tests positive for Covid-19, small groups of children and staff may be asked to self-isolate for up to 14 days.

Scientists advising the Government said in a report that it is “critical” that some mitigating measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 are kept in place when schools reopen in September in order to avoid causing a second wave.

The advice considered by the scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage) last month was published on Friday.

The paper stated: “This modelling demonstrates that even with highly effective contact tracing, significant levels of social distancing or Covid-security must be kept in place to keep R below 1 and therefore prevent a large second wave.

“In order to be able to reopen schools in September without causing a second wave, it is therefore critical that some measures remain in place, so that the reproduction number remains below 1 at the start of September when all children return to school.”

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