COVID-19 has shown the true importance of schools for our communities and, as lockdown eases, they will be at the heart of helping people to reconnect — from classmates who have been learning online to local businesses, community groups and sports clubs.
Many schools have financially benefited in the past by letting their fantastic facilities to the wider community, using the additional revenue created to invest in new educational resources, buildings and site improvements. So, for schools, the reasons for beginning or reactivating lettings are multiple: conserving client relationships, reigniting revenue streams and, importantly, providing a safe and supportive space for the community and students to come together again.
But, as we know, lettings can be highly time intensive and, as we return to a ‘new normal’, schools understandably have other priorities to pursue first and foremost. With either our lettings service or lettings software you can be confident our team of experts will be able to ease the administrative burden and management of your lettings, guiding you through a safe re-opening.
As a first step in reopening lettings, Government guidance suggests that outdoor activities could be a good place to start. Identifying which facilities are suitable for use — including lower-risk spaces such as outdoor MUGA’s and pitches, or areas where separate access can be provided for entrance and exit — and completing risk assessments of how the use of specific areas will affect staff, hirers and users is a crucial first step.
A phased reopening, beginning with outdoor spaces, can help to test the efficacy of your new procedures and protocols, providing a blueprint for roll out across your site or allowing adjustments to be made at a soft opening stage.
Introducing a robust COVID-19 safety plan, with more frequent cleaning, additional products and PPE provision, as well as appropriate training for staff, are both vital steps. However, schools should also be sure to outline expectations for site staff and clients. Compliance with Government guidance, asking hirers to supply a risk assessment for their own activities, restricting or prohibiting use of changing facilities and ensuring that both the school and hirers have a process in place to temporarily collect up-to-date contact details for track and trace processes should all be high on the agenda for reopening.
Making sure that your teams are fully briefed with additional training on new COVID-19 protocols, introducing appropriate signage and providing sanitising stations in well-placed locations and all ways to ensure that lettings can be re-activated safely and in a way that inspires confidence. Yet, there is no denying that this can be an overwhelming and logistically demanding process.
We can support you to re-open your facilities by providing expert advice on adjusting your processes and procedures. With either our software or service, you can have access to invaluable resources like our COVID-19 Site Risk Assessment template, COVID-19 Cleaning Guide and sample COVID-19 Terms & Conditions. With over 40 years experience of the school lettings environment we are well-placed to advise and guide you, not only now, but throughout your lettings journey.
Take a look at our sample COVID-19 Hirer Code of Conduct to help ensure safe access to and use of your site.
If you are feeling overwhelmed about re-opening your school to community lettings, get in touch now to find out how our BookingsGuru service and BookingsPlus software can help you – 01604 677 764.