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Covid – is face-to-face classroom training safe?

By Simon Buehring on 12 Nov 2020

Covid – is face-to-face classroom training safe?

Some UK companies are rushing to start offering face-to-face classroom PRINCE2 and project management courses as businesses start their slow to return to normality after the Covid crisis.

If you are considering a classroom course, there are 2 key questions you need to ask yourself before committing to a course?

Is there an alternative?

So far, people have attended virtual classroom training, or taken self-study online courses for the duration of the Covid pandemic. Therefore, the question to ask yourself is whether a classroom course really is needed? Just because the Government is keen for businesses to get back to normal, doesn’t mean it is safe to do so.

Is it safe?

This is the most important question of all. It affects you, your family, your friends and acquaintances. There are two things to consider here – the safety of travelling to the course, and the safety once you are at the course.

Is it safe getting to the venue?

You can partly answer this question yourself by considering whether you need to take public transport to attend the course. If so, will it be crowded, how long will it take? The longer you spend with others in the confines of a train or tube carriage the greater your risk of catching the virus.

Is the classroom safe?

Even if your travel journey is safe, what about the physical classroom? Will all students be 2 metres apart? Remember, the current UK Government advice (6th July 2020) is that people must maintain 2 metre social distancing, or 1 metre with mitigation. What does mitigation mean? It means that provided appropriate mitigation measures are taken, 1 metre or more social distancing might be appropriate.

Mitigation measures

So, what mitigation measures would be appropriate in a training classroom environment? The most obvious measures to consider would be:

  1. Is the trainer wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)? In particular are they wearing a plastic face shield to prevent droplets contaminating students?
  2. Does the room use air-con? Is potentially contaminated air being re-circulated within the classroom? Or, is ventilation provided by opening windows which will be safer?
  3. Are all students given hand sanitizer when they enter the building? Does someone ensure this happens?
  4. Are toilets deep-cleaned with appropriate anti-viral cleaning products at least daily?
  5. Are materials given out in class (e.g. manuals, exam papers, pencils etc) cleaned with anti-viral wipes before being given to students?
  6. How close together are students? Students should really be 2 metres apart to reduce the risk. That’s 2 metres in front, and at the sides.
  7. Are students and trainer having their temperature taken every time they enter the classroom? That means first thing in the morning, after breaks and lunchtime.
  8. Will the students or trainer be sent home if their temperature is above 38C?
  9. Will all students be made to wear a face mask? What will happen if a student fails to wear one? They should be barred from the course.
  10. What will happen if someone develops a fever during the course? Will they be sent home?
  11. Will all students be asked to sign a form to signify that to the best of their knowledge, within the last 14 days they have not been in close contact with anyone who is known to have the Covid-19 virus?

Terms and conditions

You might be tempted to ignore the risks outlined above. However, before rushing in to buy a course, there’s some other things you need to consider asking the training provider.

What’s their refund policy?

Will you get a full refund if the course is cancelled? In the current situation, we expect that many advertised classroom courses will be cancelled because there won’t be enough people to make it worthwhile for the company.

This is important because most of the time, people don’t read the small print. There are some very large training providers who are keen to take your money, but not so keen to give it back to you when they cancel.

Don’t lose your money

In fact, we know of one very large training provider in the UK which used to systematically advertise classes knowing many would be cancelled. They never gave refunds though. Instead they offered students an elearning course at half the price but they pocketed the difference. Yes, that’s right. So, don’t say you weren’t warned.

In fact, what they will probably do now is to put you on a virtual classroom courses at half the price, but without paying you the difference!

Our courses

Knowledge Train hopes to run classroom courses for our customers as soon as it is safe to do so. We do not think that time has yet arrived.

Instead, we recommend you consider getting certified with either virtual classroom PRINCE2 courses or project management courses, or by taking an online self-study course.

If you have any concerns about Covid and how it might affect face-to-face classroom training, please don’t hesitate to contact us either by phone or by using the chat at the bottom of the screen.

Stay safe

Last but not least, stay safe, and don’t take any unnecessary risks when you don’t need to.

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