Schools across Britain are needing to spend at least £30,000 just to keep their schools safe from a COVID-19 outbreak.
There has been a surge in COVID-19 cases since the return of the school semester in September, with many schools sending entire year groups home or shutting for periods of two-weeks.
Financially, the addition of safety measures such as plastic barriers, hand washing basins, sanitisers and cleaning supplies is adding a hefty bill to schools across the country.
It is estimated that an academy with 950 children ranging from 11 to 18 will be spending more than £30,000 to ensure that their school is equipped with COVID-19 safety measures.
A secondary school with 1,600+ students will be paying £43,000 for the Autumn term alone.
A FE college with over 6,200 students (including adult learners) has an estimated cost of over £300,000 to implement covid-19.
The COVID-19 virus lives on surfaces or on hands and can be transmitted when touching the mouth, eyes or nose, so schools are encouraged to clean shared surfaces as much as possible or encourage distancing between pupils or placing them into organised groups, colloquially known as ‘bubbles.’
Shared surfaces such as tables, chairs and learning equipment are expected to be wiped on a regular basis and good ventilation is advised across classrooms and areas. Schools can use plastic screening and wall cladding as a way to separate areas, which are easily cleaned and resistant to bacteria. Such products are available for just a few hundred pounds from the likes of Trovex, Wickes and DBS Bathrooms.
On a basic level, alcohol sanitisers are expected in areas where there are no wash basins such as doorways, entrances, lunchrooms and gyms.
As of 28th September, Wales has confirmed the closure of 75 schools with at least one classroom closure, with Bedwas High School in Caerphilly leading the number of cases with 10 classroom closures at the moment.
To assist with the ongoing costs, the UK government has confirmed £1 billion worth of funding to be spent on ‘catch up activities’ – to serve over 2 million pupils whose education has been impacted by COVID-19.
This funding is made up of a per-pupil cash boost worth £650m, meaning each primary and secondary pupil will receive £80, so a school of 200 students will receive £16,000 towards things such as tutoring, courses and technology to assist with learning.