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Tips for teaching self-isolating pupils

As the number of people who are contracting Covid-19 continue to grow, the impact in schools is being felt. Just last week more than 170,000 pupils were self-isolating as close contacts, mostly in secondary schools, because of the track and trace system and the need to avoid whole year groups being sent home or schools closing.

This means that many pupils must stay in for 10 days, missing social contacts and face to face teaching yet gain. The compound effect for children experiencing yet another period of ‘missing out’ is stressful, so here we look at the top 10 tips of helping students who are self- isolating when teachers must continue to teach face to face classes as well.

  1. Check they have access to the equipment they need; lots of work has been done to source laptops for those who need them.
  2. Check they have their books at home; pupils have had to leave school premises suddenly due to track and trace rules, so have been unable to gather what they needed before they left school.
  3. Ensure you are up to date as to which pupils are isolating due to being a close contact and able to join online classes or work at home.
  4. Be sympathetic; if emailing pupils, start with ‘…hope you are ok, it must be frustrating being at home, here is the lesson for today.’
  5. Be organised; it will make pupils feel safer and less worried; communication is key.
  6. Be tech savvy; for example, know how to do team meets or Zoom so pupils can join live lessons at home, as its vital they feel involved.
  7. Send out invites to join online classes in advance so pupils can prepare and be organised.
  8. Be clear in your instructions and remind them they can check with you if it’s unclear.
  9. Set ground rules so they know when they should press ‘mute’ and ‘chat’.
  10. Promote discussions in the lessons and ask direct questions to those joining online; it may be hard for them to ask questions and say they do not understand something.