The 2020 summer break will be different for schools. Some may not offer any holiday provision at all, some a limited offering, others third party run activities, or perhaps even a bit of both. Whatever provision is provided, the overarching duty of care of the school remains. A common theme of our Covid-19 advice has been the school must always document their decision making rationale and ensure all risk assessments are up to date and take into account Covid-19 protective measures. This should drive the viability as to whether activities should be undertaken, or adapted, or curtailed. And of course, government guidance should always be at the fore as to what can and cannot happen.
Should the school be running any provision, consideration should be given to when and where the activities are run (inside and outside), and who would be in attendance. Additional questions the school may want to consider include:
- Would it be a daily offering, or weekly?
- Would only school enrolled children be in attendance, or could siblings attend?
- Are any updates required to the cleaning regime, first aid provision, signage in place, toilet access and such like
- How will parental drop offs and pick ups work?How do you achieve consistency in attendees within groups, to avoid mixing with others?
- Has the school, and staff delivering the provision, understood how test and trace operates?
None of these are new themes, but all aspects need to be documented and communicated to parents, for them to have the peace of mind the school has made appropriate assessments to mitigate the risk. It would be a recommendation to discuss your plans with the schools current insurance provider.
But what about third party run activities? In this context, the school ordinarily acts as a venue provider, therefore the school’s legal liability is restricted to that of a property owner, although many schools purchase hirers’ liability insurance which provides contingent cover to protect them against claims of negligence against the hirer, which could be directed to the school. If insured, the school should check their policy, as the scope of cover can vary. It would be strongly recommended the school checks over the third party’s risk assessments, and update where feel may fall short of the school’s own standards. Verification of Public Liability insurance should be provided to the school, in hard copy. Ideally, the third party should have confirmation from their own insurer that cover applies for their activities, although the reality is this may be difficult to obtain. Should the school feel the approach of the third party does not meet the school’s standards, or the personnel do not fully appreciate the changes they need to make to deliver the provision, then consideration should be given to not allowing them at the school.
If there were to be combination of school and third party provision, the recommendation would be for these to happen on separate weeks, allowing for suitable cleaning between sessions, but also to minimise the likelihood of different children mingling. The risk based commentary within this blog would apply regardless as to who was actually delivering the provision and activities.