Open windows leave teachers 'freezing' as winter looms

Gloves, scarves and hats set to become 'essential' classroom items as Covid-19 ventilation measures leave staff and pupils feeling the cold

John Roberts

Open doors and windows means teachers are already feeling the cold this term

It may only be September but teachers are already feeling the cold as windows and doors are being left open to keep classrooms ventilated as a Covid-19 safety measure.

Teachers are complaining of "miserable" temperatures, numb fingers, and having to wear scarves and coats all day.

Some are ordering extra clothing and instructing pupils to buy "good thermals", while others have joked that ski gear could be issued alongside PPE for teachers, as they prepare for temperatures to drop further during the winter months to come.

Government guidance has said that schools should look to maximise ventilation by opening windows and propping open doors to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading.

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But this has meant that school staff and pupils are already having to work in colder conditions just a few weeks into the new term.

A tweet by school leader Stuart Lock highlighting the problem prompted scores of replies from teachers and school staff sharing their experiences.

Mr Lock, the chief executive of Advantage Schools, said: “School was cold today – and much worse for pupils and teachers. Are people [whacking] their heating up and keeping windows open or what? Going to be hard in proper winter.”

Paige Richardson replied: “I was so cold, by period three I struggled to use the keyboard to do the register because my hands were so cold. I teach in the south of England. It's September.”


Teacher and Tes columnist Amy Forrester posted on Twitter saying: “I literally can not cope with being as cold as I was last week at work.”


And executive headteacher Caroline Derbyshire of Saffron Walden County High School said: “We are all going to have to continue to keep children outside or in highly ventilated rooms when the weather breaks.

“This will involve reminding students and staff to bring coats, gloves and base layers. Learning to love being a bit chilly and fresh will keep us all safer.”

Catherine Nash, a head of drama, posted: “Teaching with all the windows and doors open, wearing thermals in September and next week I’m bringing gloves. Just one of the pleasures of teaching in this time of Covid.”

And a physics teacher from Southampton said that gloves, scarves and hats would become "essential" in classrooms.

Government guidance on the full return of schools this term says: “Once the school is in operation, it is important to ensure good ventilation and maximising this wherever possible, for example, opening windows and propping open doors, as long as they are not fire doors, where safe to do so (bearing in mind safeguarding in particular).”

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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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