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Marking books and Corona

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by weesteve, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. weesteve

    weesteve New commenter


    we had quite a debate in our TEAMS KS2 phase meeting yesterday about marking exercise books, e.g. is it safe to be taking work home to Mark, is it safe to be handling children’s books routinely even just in school, etc.
    Opinion was mixed, and none of us had seen any reference in the DfE advice, so... does anyone know what other (perhaps better informed) schools are doing, or what union advice is?
  2. bonxie

    bonxie Lead commenter

    It might be worth getting in touch with CLEAPSS as they are used to doing risk assessments for school activities. At the very least, I'd suggest to avoid touching anything handled by others for at least 72 hours if at all possible. If it's not possible, then hand washing straight after touching something would be wise. That'd be quite a lot of 20 second hand washes for a class set of exercise books!
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    My friend who has been shielding her OH was sent books home and quarantined them in a shed for 72 hours and then again for 72 hours before sending them back. If the school then did the same after the courier dropped them off and parents the same when they got them, that's a huge time delay on marking. If they were back at school this would be very difficult to achieve, so yes constant hand-washing will be needed and a set of books will take far longer to mark, so SMT will have to make allowances.

    Unless someone comes up with proven data to prove that the virus doesn't live long on paper. Sunlight is also supposed to help destroy the virus, so on dry days spreading books out in the sun may help.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    My gut feeling is that it won't be particularly dangerous. Books are not hard surfaces, nor will aerosols be likely to rise out of the lovingly created page of work.
    christubbs and harsh-but-fair like this.
  5. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Established commenter

    Disinfect your hands before picking up the books then after you've finished.

    You're just as likely to get flu/diahorrea from touching kids' things but we don't go through any protective measures to prevent that.
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Yet I can remember years ago in my early teaching days, if a child came down with chickenpox, we were not allowed to send books home. :confused: So some transmission must be possible in certain infections? (Lara definitely not a science person. ;))
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    Oh yes, we did at the schools I worked at-I always carried hand gel once it became widely available, and washed my hands very thoroughly, for that sort of reason.
    Eve after Covid goes, I'd hope we'd continue to be this careful. It would be worth checking, but didn't posts at the start of this say that Covid lives on paper for about 12 hours, cardboard a bit longer, and metal (staples, paperclips, bits on the plastic folders they hand in etc) considerably longer? So couldn't you keep the work on your desk for 72 hours? And insist on any student who can do so submitting it electronically?
  8. zetafunction

    zetafunction New commenter

    I am not sure if online marking will be a safer option, that is of course if all involved have access to the online platforms such as Google Classroom or MT etc etc, it certainly is the quickest under the current conditions.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  9. agathamorse

    agathamorse Senior commenter

    We're operating a clean desk policy in September. Nothing on our desks apart from the pc. No books on our shelves. I think this means we're marking electronically as normally our desks would have piles of books every day.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Errrrm not sure I'd want a pile of infected books on my desk in front of me for 72 hours thank you.
    Granted the chance of books having the virus on them is very small, and the chance of me breathing it in is also very small, but I think I'd rather gel my hands, mark the things and get them off somewhere else than have them sitting right under my nose.
  11. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Wear gloves?
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Or that to save sanitiser...but I'd still want the books/work off my desk as soon as possible.
    sunshineneeded and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  13. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Car boot? Shed? Bin store? Spare room?
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Indeed @Morninglover , but I was responding to @hhhh who said
    I used to take books home in the boot of my car on a Friday and bring them back on a Monday, never having actually got round to taking them in the house and marking them!
  15. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    I think we will be marking in September - possibly less than 'normal' - but doing it in school rather than at home and washing hands before and after. I think the risk would be very minimal.

    As for home readers ... we want to start this again, but not in as fluid a way as it's always been. There will be specific days for returning books; if you don't bring your book back on that day, you have to wait until the next specified day. Returned books will be in a quarantined box for 72 hours before being returned to the bookshelves.
  16. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Brilliant idea...I'm going to do the specific days thing as well now. Thank you I was fretting about how I could manage quarantining returns. This makes it easy.
  17. catbanj

    catbanj Occasional commenter

    We have to quarantine books for 48 hours before marking .... 72 hours if they have plastic covers. As we teach every day this essentially means the kids are self marking from September,unless the guidance is relaxed.Your school risk assessment should be very clear about the rules
  18. steely1

    steely1 Occasional commenter

    That was me every weekend pre-lockdown! Unmarked exercise books over the weekend - surely the bane of many a teacher's life?!
  19. Progressnerd

    Progressnerd Occasional commenter

    I think the best solution for everyone would be to ban marking. And I'm also concerned with learning walks and observations, I don't think they're safe having someone else enter these bubbles.
  20. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    I don't think learning walks and observations will happen for some time - as you say, @Progressnerd, it's unnecessary people going into a bubble.

    But I do think marking is ok, as long as you wash hands before and after. Do we all go into a supermarket and pick up a loaf of bread, bag of apples, etc? Or have them delivered? They didn't get there by magic - other people have touched them, and we have no idea how many. I can't see much difference - at least when you're marking, you know that only one child has probably touched each book.

    Somehow, we have to - carefully and sensibly - inch our way back to normality.

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