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How are LSA's working with students and staying Covid Safe?

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by sairad, Sep 5, 2020.

  1. sairad

    sairad New commenter

    I work in a secondary school with PD students who require support throughout the day with their writing and handling of resources and equipment. Some need me to scribe, some need a person to hold a ruler while they use it. We have provided all students with their own box of resources, it is where they keep their exercise books and nobody is to share these items or touch them.
    Within twenty minutes of the first lesson I was sitting next to the child I support, I was asked to scribe for the student and was therefore touching the exercise books they would also use. Quite simply it isn't possible to keep a 2 metre or a 1 metre plus distance, or to avoid touching resources. I could wear a mask or visor but this would impact on communication between myself and the student. I spend all day with the same student in the same room with the same children, teachers come and go. we sanitise our hands when we enter and leave the room, I'm able to wash my hands at lunch time and the end of the day as well.
    Do I feel safe? Not really, but what can I do, refuse to be so close, refuse to scribe, etc? It is part of my role and I am there for the student I work with. What are other LSA's doing? Are you staying at a distance? Do you wear a face mask or visor in the classroom?
  2. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    It is so difficult and I feel for you. Our children are not back until Monday, so I can't yet speak from experience of having 30 children in a bubble. We've talked and planned endlessly it seems, but at the moment it's all theory - until tomorrow.
    It sounds as though you are doing everything possible - they say handwashing is the most important thing in keeping safe, so I would do that as often as possible. Also, can you carry hand sanitiser with you to use whenever you feel the need? The risk of touching exercise books is said to be very low - we are planning to be doing this. Are other LSAs at your school wearing masks or visors? I do think you should consider this, if it would make you feel safer. As you are with the same student all the time, you will build up a good relationship with them and can use this to teach about personal space, especially in these current times - to keep you both safe.
    I'm sorry this is not particularly helpful, just wanted to let you know you're not alone with your worries and wish you well.
    sairad likes this.
  3. lunarita

    lunarita Lead commenter

    I would, as suggested above, definitely be wearing mask, visor and with hand gel always at the ready.

    We have been measuring out our distanced seating arrangements. In many classes we are at the limit and there will be no room for LAs. Not sure yet what is going to happen there. It could be, of course, that many parents don't send their children in for a week or two yet which will give us a bit more space.
  4. hubcap

    hubcap Occasional commenter

    We work behind the child , if that makes sense. The group of children that I work with are sat at the back of the class in a row. I walk along and talk to them from behind. It really works as I don't feel that I'm passing g anything on to them if I was infected . If they turn to talk to me ,I step back and listen. Our head teacher has said if you feel unsafe you can wear a mask but working this way there is no need. It's actually forcing the children to become more independent too, as they can,t have as much individual attention. You could try sitting a little further back than your child when you are listening to them to scribe? Ask if you can both sit at the back of the classroom
    Trekkie likes this.
  5. 1stviolin

    1stviolin New commenter

    Another secondary LSA here. I've found it very difficult: OK in some classrooms where it's possible to seat the child in a convenient place and lurk behind them in a well-ventilated corner, but others are crowded, claustrophobic and/or noisy (open doors = noise from adjacent classrooms, shut doors = 32 people breathing the same stale air) and it's impossible to give any meaningful support without continually breaching the 2m distance. Wearing a mask is my only defence (and does of course hamper communication) and it's not been a comfortable experience. Being in the 55+ age group it's no longer worth it - someone in their 20s is welcome to the job
    harpie and Catgirl1964 like this.
  6. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Senior commenter

    I am finding exactly the same issues as you and am in the same age group. I am insisting on all windows and doors open all the time, wearing a mask and staying 2m away except for the occasional moving closer to point something out, then moving away. I have had to remind two teachers so far that doors must be left open to aid ventilation. I feel this will not be permitted when it gats colder.
  7. sairad

    sairad New commenter

    I open the windows as soon as I go into the classroom every morning, some teachers prop open the door, others close it, no consistency. We had several students off last week and many more coughing their way through the day. I sit in the same room, all day, with the same children, teachers come and go. I am not wearing my mask in the classroom, we have to in communal areas as our school is in the NE and restrictions now apply.
    Some staff seem to think masks are optional, do I report them? I'm already worried enough without getting into informing on colleagues. I challenge students incorrectly wearing their masks - what about the adults? I think I'll do it tomorrow as I'm scared, don't want to catch Covid 19, don't want to be off work or pass it on to anyone.
    Why isn't everyone bothered and willing to do whatever is necessary to stop this getting worse again?
    Catgirl1964 likes this.
  8. ElizaJean

    ElizaJean New commenter

    In Early years there is no social distancing.
    One has to hope that they are 'safe' Covid wise. Certainly not round colds!

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