14 May Back to school blues: Support for schools during COVID-19
Monday’s announcement from the UK government has indicated a desire to reopen schools as early as June the 1st, the proposal as it stands would be to reintroduce students in phases so as to minimise the risk of reinfection and another great spread.
While the youngest and eldest primary school students appear poised to be the first to return, secondary school students may remain in home schooling until September.
The guidance offered to schools is very similar to the general advice issued when lockdown began, frequent handwashing, proper disposal of used tissues and vigilance regarding those who may exhibit symptoms.
Additionally, it appears that social distancing rules have been suspended in the case of teachers and students, given that the government has recommended classes of up to 15 strong. The guidance as it stands has met with resistance from major unions, who stated in correspondence with the Secretary of State last week that:
“The government is showing a lack of understanding about the dangers of the spread of coronavirus within schools, and outwards from schools to parents, sibling and relatives, and to the wider community.”
Despite an absence of comprehensive guidelines, what is clear is that budgets may be stretched over the coming months. The current protective measures, as well as any new measures introduced, will inevitably consume resources.
However given the lack of information to properly calculate those costs administrators might be best advised to address existing expenses instead. Devising strategies to reduce current costs will then free up those resources for redistribution in the COVID-19 protective effort, if and when that need arises.
An added benefit is that by streamlining expenses like utilities and waste management now, you will save when implementing pre-existing protective measures. Tap aerators will create savings when the frequency of hand washing increases, an intelligent waste management means “Catch it, bin it, kill it” not creating as much strain as it might have.
In addition, if premises have been vacant for some time, then gas and electricity supplies may need to be reactivated, and if they have not been deactivated then perhaps they should be until their use can be guaranteed. While they’re at it, bursars might consider whether they’re receiving the best deal on their energy supply.
All of these elements contribute to a cohesive utilities and waste management strategy, the type of strategy that ESS specialises in formulating.
“ESS have been actively monitoring the market since the COVID-19 situation began…
… [this] enables us to provide an estimated budget projection for the school year ahead and mitigates any potential increases over the duration of their contract. We have also been liaising with suppliers regarding reduced consumption and monitoring estimated billing throughout this time where schools have remained closed, to ensure that they are not being charged for energy they have not been using.”
Faye Lewis, Account Manager ESS
Understanding various utilities markets can be time-consuming, ESS can tender for the most competitive prices and continuously monitors the energy markets to optimise savings. The ESS services page contains full details of our offerings to schools, bursars and head teachers.