Tutoring Centres and COVID-19
As the coronavirus continues its spread through the community and the responses from government and businesses is slowly escalating, the ATA has noted that there may well be impacts on tutoring businesses and individuals.
The present advice from government authorities is that schools are to remain open and the use of face masks is not generally necessary. However, they have a policy of ‘no touching’, the use of hand sanitisers and also that people practice what has been called ‘social distancing’. This means staying 1.5m away from others. Obviously in schools and tutoring centres this is not easily possible.
The ATA approach
The ATA standard is always to advise precaution. That is, if there is a concern then we advocate erring on the side of caution. Hence we would expect all centres to have staff and students sanitise their hands upon entry into premises. We advise the use of alcohol wipes to clean all surfaces (desks, chairs and board), any in-centre computers, mouse and associated hardware between sessions.
If schools close it is appropriate that tutoring centres also close during the period of the shut down.
You may consider allowing students to be absent without penalty at this time. A number of families will be concerned about the virus and will keep their child(ren) at home. It would be expected that an ATA member would do their best to reassure parents and to find means by which sessions can be taught, even if this means online and at home. This can be done through the use of a number of technologies, including, but not limited to:
- Google classroom
- The use of Zoom, Jitsi, Google Hangouts or Skype
Zoom offers the advantage of being able to record all chats – which is a good child protection standard and one the ATA would expect characterise any online communications between tutor(s) and student(s).
It is expected that parents would be welcome to supervise any online sessions that they be conducted with the students sitting in an open area in their house, or in a supervised area otherwise.
A threat and an opportunity
At first the pandemic appears to be a threat to tutoring income, however, if schools close never will there be a more pressing need for accountable, well structured tutoring. Tutors should be willing to consider means by which to:
- Increase operational flexibility
- Maintain tutoring and enhance the capacity to meet student needs at a stressful time
- Find ethical ways to manage changed or cancelled lessons arising from the legitimate concerns that parents have.
The ATA Office
The ATA Office staff will continue to operate the office as per usual though they have always been free to work from home as required. Consequently there should be no change to service levels from the office.
The ATA National Conference – deferred until October
The ATA National Conference is scheduled for 3rd July but people need to make plans prior. We shall defer the Conference until early October – details will be furnished as the situation becomes clearer.
Additional Useful Websites
Please reach out to me should you have any questions you would like discussed in a follow up email to members.