Wearing PPE in schools

Nursery settings, schools and special schools

Most staff in education, will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not always able to maintain a distance of 2 metres from others.

PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases if:

  • an individual child, young person or other learner becomes ill with coronavirus (Covid-19) symptoms and only then if a distance of two metres cannot be maintained
  • a child, young person or learner already has routine intimate care needs that involve the use of PPE, in which case the same PPE should continue to be used 

All staff should be adequately trained in how to safely put on and take off PPE.

Reference to PPE in the following situations means:

  • fluid-resistant surgical face masks (also known as Type IIR)
  • disposable gloves
  • disposable plastic aprons
  • eye protection (for example a face visor or goggles)

The PPE that should be used in the following situations when caring for someone with symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) is:

  • a face mask should be worn if a distance of two metres cannot be maintained
  • if contact is necessary, then gloves, an apron and a face mask should be worn
  • eye protection if a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of fluids entering the eye, for example, from coughing, spitting or vomiting

If a child tests positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) and needs to remain in a residential setting, the same type and level of PPE as above should be used.

When PPE is used, it is essential that it is used properly. This includes scrupulous hand hygiene and following guidance on how to put PPE on and take it off safely in order to reduce self-contamination.

Face masks must:

  • cover both nose and mouth
  • not be allowed to dangle around the neck
  • not be touched once put on, except when carefully removed before disposal
  • be changed when they become moist or damaged
  • be worn once and then discarded - hands must be cleaned after disposal

For personal care in special school settings

Gloves and aprons should be worn as per usual practice (and always when providing care) and changed in between clients.

Additional PPE such as fluid resistant surgical masks (Type IIR/ FFP2) and eye protection (goggles/visor) where there is a risk of splash from body fluids would only be required if:

  • masks and eye protection are already used for certain activities
  • a child has symptoms and needs to be cared for and 2m distance cannot be maintained
  • the risk assessment dictates that this level of PPE is needed, such as if the child bites, spits etc.

Note – an enhanced level of PPE would be needed if performing an Aerosol Generating Procedure.