Students with special needs and special schools
Infection control measures adapted to students with special needs (such as developmental and other disabilities) are challenging due to the significant variations in student abilities, composition, organisation of schools/special classes and so on. The school health services and municipal health services who are familiar with the student and the relevant schools should be involved in adapting infection control measures.
Students with special needs may require physical adaptations and help and may require special care and physical contact. Consequently, the guidelines for the grade level in terms of social distancing and group size may not always be possible to follow, but the current infection control measures described in the guidelines should be observed as much as possible. Student caregiving needs are always prioritised.
The basic infection control measures that apply:
- Persons who are sick must stay at home
- Good hand hygiene, cough etiquette and good cleaning
- Reduced contact between individuals
Some students may have difficult expressing themselves and communicating that they feel sick. Good dialogue with the educator/assistant and parents or guardians who are familiar with the student’s normal behaviour is important to ensure that these students are not at school when sick.
Students who attend regular school:
- If the student receives special one-on-one instruction, the student and educator/assistant should be considered a single unit. If the student has several assistants, this applies to all of them.
- The social distancing recommendations should be observed to the extent possible, but the student and educator/assistant can have close physical contact in situations that require this and the distancing requirement may not be at the expense of care for the student. Interaction with other students and staff should be limited and the recommended distance should be maintained.
- It is preferable that the personal care and demands associated with caregiving for the individual student are carried out by the student’s assistant. Protective gear other than normally used for caregiving is not needed.
- The student can interact with others within the cohort/class in the same manner as with other students (distancing requirement, etc. depending on age group).
- Other students and staff outside the cohort/class should maintain a distance and follow the infection control measures as described in the guidelines.
- Students who are unable to observe the infection control recommendations are still allowed to attend school.
In special schools, some students will require physical contact, including personal care. To prevent the needless quarantining of large numbers of staff and students at the same time and to reduce the potential spread of the infection, students should be split into smaller groups/cohorts.
- The cohorts should consist of fixed groups of students and staff.
- On the yellow level, a cohort can comprise, for example, up to 10 students and, on the red level, up to five. If there are students who require more than one assistant, the cohort size should be reduced accordingly.
- Students do not need to keep a distance within the cohort.
- Employees should maintain a distance from other employees to the extent possible.
- Personal care and the demands associated with caregiving for the individual student are to be carried out by staff members in the same cohort. Protective gear other than normally used for caregiving is not needed.