In light of the Government’s guidance for full reopening of schools (published 2 July 2020), making hand sanitising part of children’s everyday life whilst in school is the challenge faced by teachers as the Autumn term fast approaches.
What do the Government guidelines require of educational settings?
Amongst the detailed requirements, the guidance stipulates that for the Autumn term, schools must:
- Conduct a risk assessment and introduce a ‘system of controls’ appropriate to the specific environment, including robust hand and respiratory hygiene and enhanced cleaning arrangements
- Introduce preventative measures to help students and staff clean hands thoroughly, more often than usual and introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often
- Have an appropriate response to any infection
The challenge for educationalists is how to implement a comprehensive risk assessment and the appropriate essential controls in a manner that doesn’t (i) interfere with the teaching programme (ii) is easy to implement (iii) reduces the burden on teaching and support staff and (iv) encourages children to practice proper hygiene in a responsible manner.
Children’s Multi-height Sanitising Unit specifically design for Early Years, KS1 and KS2
To meet these challenges, visual communications company Ultima Displays has shared insight into their latest range of hand sanitising stations, which are easily deployed in a wide range of situations and are produced in the UK.
They already offer a range of adult premium sanitising stations and realised there was nothing in the marketplace to engage children, so that kids see hand sanitising as an activity that is friendly, fun, and appealing. This inspired Ultima to design a brightly coloured portable unit that can be used indoors and outdoors.
The innovative aspect of the design is the ability to easily adjust the dispenser height; by the using the sliding mechanism, the sanitiser bottle height can quickly be altered to between 500-900mm from the floor. This ensures its suitability for a broad age range from 3-11 years. The ability to change the height and move the unit where it is needed makes the sanitiser an attractive option for schools and nurseries.
Key to its impact are the bright coloured graphics, designed to engage children in a clear, friendly way. These can also be customised with year groups, or specific information if needed. This makes the sanitising unit easier for teachers to visually explain the importance of hygiene.
Designed with longevity in mind, the sturdy unit has a wipe clean glossy powder coated finish and is very stable with no sharp edges. The circular half-moon base enables easy access for wheelchair users making it safe and accessible. It also has a low centre of gravity to help stability in high traffic areas and reduce the risk of it falling over.
COVID has had an immense impact on children and their education and has added extra pressure on teachers to keep children engaged and alleviate their fears.Ultima believe the combination of height adjustability, colour and bright graphics will encourage engagement and feedback so far is that children really love the unit and want to use it.
This in turn will help to make it a lot less frightening experience especially for younger children, and ease parents’ concerns that their children are safe while in school.
A range of complementary products to support hygiene across the school estate
The Children’s Multi-Height sanitising station is part of a carefully designed range designed for specific applications. These include adult free standing and wall/desk mounted hand sanitising stations for reception areas, entrances, and staff rooms, as well as a very robust premium cleaning station.
The premium cleaning station is ideal for areas where surfaces need to be regularly cleaned, in line with the guidance. It features space for sanitising gel and all the cleaning products teaching and support staff may need to maintain hygiene.
Until an effective vaccine is developed, the threat of COVID-19 remains a real risk to all aspects of daily life and it is likely that we will all be dealing with it for the foreseeable future. However, with appropriate risk assessments and equipment specifically designed to aid proper hygiene in all settings, the risks can be greatly reduced until that time.