What are ‘Bubbles’?
A bubble - not the soapy kind - is a distinct, separate group used to aid social distancing during the pandemic. They are used in schools, childcare and can be created with members of other households for support.
The bubbles are aimed to reduce the risk of transmission, and if there is a positive case, only a small, readily identifiable group should need to isolate.
The bubbles were proposed for use in school when they re-opened after the first lockdown and have continued to be recommended as schools remain open during the second lockdown.
While there has been some controversy around the rules for schools during the pandemic, many parents and teachers agree that having their children back in school again is a priority.
Many schools have arranged students into bubbles that they stay in for class, lunch, break and even school transport.
For the schools that cannot introduce class-sized bubbles, they have been asked to keep year groups as separate as they can. If someone tests positive, they should also send home those who have had “close contact” - which means being within one or two metres for more than 15 minutes.
These measures pose logistical and administrative challenges on some schools that have limited space and staff. Keeping tabs on a whole school of children is no easy feat - but it is possible with the use of carefully designed seating plans and timetables.
Steve Chalke, founder of the Oasis Academy Trust, spoke to the BBC about class bubbles and said for every building of their 35 primary schools they will need a “bespoke plan” to accommodate the difference in outside spaces, size of rooms and layout of schools.
Seating plans and class timetables are vital tools for staff members to arrange bubbles and socially distanced seating. If a child tests positive, past seating plans can be used to see who they came into “close contact” with.
Software that is specifically tailored for this can take the load off staff shoulders and ease parents that are wary about sending their kids back to school.
How online seating plans can help
Used by many schools across the UK, MINTclass has played a vital role in making it so much easier for schools to plan, manage and share class seating plans and key student information.
The online MINTclass seating planner manages templates for each room, which can be shared to each staff member due to be teaching that class.
As schools are called to adjust their organisational system to allow for bubbles, software like this enables them to make quick and easy changes to the classroom.
MINTclass also has the ability to allow staff to quickly award achievement points to students for hard work. We are pleased to announce there will also be an option to make this available to parents as part of our parent app coming soon.
Here’s how MINTclass helped Stuart Green, Assistant Headteacher at Ricards Lodge High School
“MINTClass has been an invaluable tool for senior leaders and staff during lockdown.
As we have been running an on-site rota system, we have made use of the MINTclass seating planner which has given us access to a range of useful tools.
The ability to share seating plan ‘groups’ with the whole staff body, and more recently edit them has allowed us to maintain consistency in the teaching rooms. Being able to see the layout of the room, student pictures and their attainment info gives the changing staff body an ‘at a glance’ background on each student, including SEN notes and strategies. These groups, along with the achievement and write back to SIMs module, allows teachers to reward students with points and comments during lessons for their effort and work, this can then be seen by parents through our school VLE.
Additionally, through 2FA via our school VLE, staff have been able to continue to use our school achievement award system whilst working from home.”
Book a demo
To discover how an online seating plan could work for your school, book a free product demo with our product team by calling 02380 016 563 or emailing email@example.com. We’d love to help.
Support for MINTclass customers
If you’re an existing MINTclass customer, we offer refresher sessions to ensure your staff members are taking advantage of the features available to them. If this is something of interest, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need help with the system please contact our support team on 02380 016 564 or email@example.com.