I remember the challenges of supporting pupils in staying safe when using the internet. I also remember someone telling me that teaching people to be safe using the internet is a bit like teaching children how to cross the road – you don’t stop the traffic! There are serious dangers to be navigated, not all people drive sensibly, with a thought for others, some people drive faster than others and so on. It made me think. Children need to have crossing the road modelled by being set good examples, the Green Cross Code gave simple memorable instructions to Stop, Look and Listen, we encouraged the wearing of protective clothing and we encouraged discussion about how young people themselves can assess the risks and learn how to make decisions about their own safety when crossing the road.
Coronavirus is different threat but some of the principles from road safety are transferrable – adults can set a good example, schools can provide simple memorable instructions to support hand washing, use of tissues when coughing and sneezing, use of sanitiser, keeping reasonable distances and wearing appropriate clothing at times. We also know that will have to hold the hands of some as they learn new skills, others will need a dedicated crossing point, many will assess risks themselves and cross independently using a general set of guidelines and some will be distracted and will need to be guided back to remember the risks.
And the Coronavirus challenges us in a new way. Many of our pupils and our staff will have been impacted emotionally by the disease and this provides us with a different set of questions and different set of skills. Anticipation of the threat is heightened because of its invisibility. The safety section in the website sets out some of the questions we can ask ourselves and the methods section can help us to get the answers. So lets Stop, Look and Listen to make sure we stay as safe as we can in the ‘new normal’.