Table 3

Quotes about school COVID-19 risk reduction measures (using pseudonyms and S: school)

Social distancing impossibleCommon good
‘I can't see it [social distancing] happening unless there are less children in the school at one time’ (Sarah, Mum, S4)
‘you can’t properly socially distance in a school so it’s a lot of 'that’ll do, that’ll do' but it’s still best it can be’ (Matt, Teacher, S3)
‘maybe they [school] have some magical plan, or maybe if they can extend something or something like that, but I… I just feel like there’s not enough space for what they’re trying to do’ (Amber, yr 7, S3)
‘I think empowering people to be autonomous and realise that their efforts are, are for the collective good. That they’ve all got a part to play in it. I think that’s much better than, you know, er, publicly shaming them, or or, or criticising them…if you want to achieve compliance and cooperation, it’s creating an atmosphere that it’s in everyone’s best interest and you contribute to the common good’ (John, Teacher, S3)
Concerns about year bubblesMessaging and reminders
‘at the end of the day, we’re all gonna walk out of school at the same time and we’re all just gonna walk together and end up in the same place’ (Amber, yr 7, S3)
‘siblings they are mixing bubbles, the bubbles become 500, 700 [people], um, so it’s a gesture’ (Claire, Teacher, S8)
‘if there’s a consistent message, 'this is just what you do now, if you can', then, um, then they’ll just pick it up really and get on with it’ (Georgina, Mum, S3)
‘I think having more visuals is really quite key so there’s, they are reminded of what’s, what’s going on. Um, I don’t feel like we have enough at the moment, to be honest’ (Julia, Teacher, S11)
Concerns about hand-hygieneStaff culture shift
‘I suspect we’re going to run out of hand sanitisers in the, um, the ones that are kind of communally put up around the school …I’d say that they, they’re going to run out by break time’ (Julia, Teacher, S11)
‘They [school bathrooms] never have soap or anything, like, loads of the taps don’t work!’ (Daisy, yr 7, S3)
‘our biggest weapon will be ‘don’t be in work if you’re ill’ (Jackie, Head, S1)
Lack of compliance with new rules
‘[on handwashing] maybe forgetting or teachers not reminding the students enough or them being too lazy or maybe their friends might be going somewhere but their friends don’t wanna wait for them so they just can’t be bothered to wash their hands’ (Ali, yr 10, S13)
‘I feel like, you know, people are just are not gonna do it [social distance]. They’re just gonna do what they want and like run around the whole place’ (Amber, yr 7, S3)
‘a line that’s been put on the floor that shows the two metres to the teacher. Um, what’s interesting there, of course some students are going to see that as a bit of an invite or a challenge to cross that line, literally’ (Tracey, Mum, S3)
‘[my child] might just go to the sink, wash the few fingers at the front and then leave. We don’t actually know if they’re going to be doing the full happy birthday… it baffles me how it’s [enforcing handwashing] actually going to work” (Samira, Mum, S4)
Specific groups
‘disadvantaged students, and students that would normally get more support in a lesson - because it’s more like lecture style now, so we’re not really allowed to walk between the desks or anything—those students are going to miss out, the ones who wouldn’t normally put their hand up’ (Finn, Teacher, S5)
‘the young people … with the highest level of needs, who’ve got education health and care plans …might not fully understand the need for personal space, or…we’ve just added this whole extra kind of layer of complexity into their social world that I’m sure is going to be hugely challenging’ (Anna SENCO, S1)