“Life is like carrying a message from the child you were to the old man you’ll become, without losing it along the way.” - Yann Arthus-Bertrand
The number of COVID-19 infections seems to be going up across the UK, the measures in place seem to be changing a lot, and the jury’s still out on whether or not we’re in the middle of the second wave or we’re still in the first.
What is sure is that COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for the time being. However, the kids are back at school. Of course, education is essential and kids in the UK need their lives to go back to normal as soon as possible.
If you’re a private tutor, you might be wondering how to get your private tutorials started again while also respecting the necessary safety measures. Let’s have a look at the precautions you should take so that you can keep teaching your students and earning a living.
COVID-19: The Measures to Take Before Private Tutorials
We’re fully aware that the situation isn’t ideal for private tutorials. That said, the kids are back at school, albeit with new measures in place. A lot of parents needed their kids to go back to school so that they could go back to work without having to worry about childcare.
Students can go back to school and start learning and see their classmates again, even if it is with physical distancing and safety measures in place. Not all students were able to get the same education during the lockdown. Some don’t have access to the internet and others didn’t have the ideal environment for learning at home. It’s now time for life to get back to “normal” for them even if their parents might still be working from home.
Those studying a degree may also need academic support so don’t hesitate to start your private tutorials back up. This takes a bit of planning but it’s doable.
Let’s look at what you should be doing before teaching a class:
- Check your temperature and ask the parents to do the same. If there’s any doubt, cancel your tutorials and do a COVID-19 test. You can always reschedule the lesson for a later date when you’ve confirmed you don’t have COVID-19.
- If you have long hair, tie it up. Hair can become a nest of bacteria, microbes, and viruses.
- Keep your nails short for the same reason. It’s harder to keep long nails clean and viruses and bacteria love living under them.
- Wash your hands before you leave the house.
- Put on a mask with clean hands. Gloves are fairly pointless as you can transport the virus on. It’s better to just regularly wash your hands.
- Before you arrive, ask your student to air out the room that you’ll be using for between fifteen minutes and half an hour.
Getting to your student’s home:
- If you’re taking public transport, avoid touching handrails and poles.
- If you’re taking your car, disinfect the steering wheel, gearstick, and door handles every time you get in and out of the car.
- If you’re going by bicycle, you won’t need to wear a mask. Generally, you might want to avoid wearing a mask if you’re doing exercise.
- If you’re going on foot, it depends on where you live and the current local or regional rules and guidelines. Some towns and cities may require you to wear a mask in certain areas. Find out which rules and guidelines apply in your local area.
Coronavirus: The Precautions to Take During Private Tutorials
During the tutorials, you need to be vigilant. You’re probably going to be spending at least an hour with your student so you should take all the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of infection. Remember that either one of you can be carrying the virus and infectious, even if neither of you is showing symptoms.
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Try to arrive between 5 and 10 minutes before the start of the tutorials so that you can wash your hands and disinfect the equipment that you’re going to use. You can always increase your rates to account for the extra time this takes and the measures you’ve put in place.
Ask to wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser if no soap is available. Ask the student to do the same. Soap and water are recommended for those under 11 as you can’t ingest hand sanitiser.
You don’t necessarily need disinfectant soap as bacteria, viruses, and microbes can be gotten rid of with regular soap. To avoid the spread on surfaces, use your elbow to turn the tap on and off where you can.
Of course, don’t shake hands or hug anyone and keep your distance when you arrive.
During the tutorials, disinfect the area that you’re going to use: table, chairs, computer, etc. You can use wipes for this or if you’d prefer something greener, disinfectant products on a cloth that can be put in the washing machine.
Keep your mask on throughout the tutorial and ask your student to do the same if they’re over the age of 11. If their parents will be there, ask them to wear masks, especially if they won’t be able to physically distance from you. For students under the age of 11, masks aren’t recommended but they can wear one if they want to. Children under the age of 3 shouldn’t wear masks at all as they can pose a choking hazard or suffocate them. Some parents will want their child to wear a mask so it's probably best to discuss the measures that you’d like in place before the tutorials.
Where possible, only touch your own things. Avoid touching your face during the tutorial, too. Ideally, bring as little equipment as possible. You might want to leave your coat or jacket in the car. Don’t bring a bag full of stuff if you don’t need to. You might want to bring your own drink bottle if you’re going to be drinking water during the lesson.
Limit the number of books you bring with you during your tutorials, too, and try to do your lessons without them. You can always scan the pages that you’ll be using and have your student print them out or read them from the screen of their tablet if they have one. Don’t loan stationery and ask your student to provide their own pens, pencils, etc. Generally, everyone should have their own equipment.
If you have to cough, do so into your elbow without removing your mask. If you need to wipe or blow your nose, do so into a tissue and throw it out immediately, washing your hands afterwards. If you can throw it outside of the house (into a bin, of course), do so. Don’t use the bathroom at the student’s house if you don’t have to and, in general, minimise the number of things you touch in their house.
You want to be seated at least a metre (ideally two) from your student. Limit the amount of contact you make with your student. If you must greet them, do so with your elbow or your feet.
Of course, if you’re teaching group tutorials, you’ll want to avoid as much physical contact between you and the students as possible. You’ll need access to a room or classroom where physical distancing can be observed.
What To Do After a Tutorial
At the end of each tutorial, take 5 to 10 minutes to clean the space you were using with wipes or disinfectant. Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser.
Ask your student to open the window and air out the room for 15 minutes or so. You can always leave the windows open during the tutorials but this mightn’t be possible on colder days. You don’t want them to freeze!
Once you get back home, you can throw your mask away (if it’s disposable) or wash it (if it’s reusable). Wash your hands, too. If you’re not going out again, you may want to consider washing your clothes. If you can immediately shower, you can do this as well.
Alternatives to Private Tutorials
You can also teach your private tutorials in places where all these measures are regularly observed.
If not, have you considered teaching your private tutorials via webcam?
This is a great alternative that eliminates the risk of infection.
So are you ready to get your private tutorials back on track?
A lot of students all over the country are looking for academic support services as they missed out on so many classes during the early stages of the pandemic. While there are a lot of educational resources available online, these don't always work and tutoring from a private tutor, be it face-to-face or online, can really help students get their education back on track.