Letter for students, to be read carefully before starting lessons
I have included below some information that I am required to send you as part of government guidelines. Don't worry, it's pretty simple in practise!
COVID-19 related screening questions
• Have you had the recent onset of a new continuous cough?
• Do you have a high temperature?
• Have you noticed a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell?
If you have any of these symptoms, however mild, you are advised to stay at home / go home and
reschedule your appointment.
• Does anyone in your household have symptoms (or has had symptoms in the last 14 days)?
• Have you travelled abroad or been In contact with anyone with symptoms in the last 14 days?
If you have been in contact with others with symptoms in the past 14 days you are advised to stay at home / go home and reschedule your appointment.
If you have been advised by the NHS that you are in a high risk category and have previously been shielding, you are recommended to seek advice from your GP or hospital consultant in case they have any concerns about you attending lessons. It may be helpful if you share the information on this page with your doctor in case they are seeking reassurance that I will be taking every precaution.
If you are in the moderate risk category, the government advises that you should also consider following the guidelines for people in the high risk category (above).
The high and moderate risk categories are defined on the NHS website here.
List of instructions for students
The following precautions are to avoid the virus from being transmitted. I appreciate that you may feel you are not concerned about catching it or you may have already had it. You could, however, still be a carrier of the virus and unknowingly transmit it to someone else.
Please arrive at the time of your scheduled appointment. Whenever possible I will be working in the garden, which has a sheltered area.
I am scheduling gaps between lessons to allow for cleaning between students and so that you will not come into contact with another student.
If you arrive early please stay in your car until the start time of your lesson or if you prefer you can sit on the bench at the front of the house.
I will come to the back gate leading to the garden to let you in, or to the front door if the weather is inclement.
Bring your own face mask if possible.
Ideally, wear long sleeves and full length trousers.
Bring your own water if possible.
Bring your own blanket and any extra warm clothes you may need if the weather is cold.
For indoor lessons, upon arrival please use the hand sanitizer located in the front porch before pressing the doorbell. The downstairs toilet is also available for hand washing.
For outdoor lessons, please use hand sanitizer (provided) on arrival and departure. The back room sink and the downstairs toilet are also available for hand washing.
Please use the hand rail when walking up and down the front and back steps if you need to.
Please allow me to open and close doors.
If possible, please pay by bank transfer to avoid any unnecessary contact; however cash or cheque is still possible if this is not convenient.
Teachers are required to request and record contact details of all our students, visitors and staff and to display an official NHS QR code poster to help break the chains of transmission of coronavirus.
Although this may seem a lot to take in on your first session, I will guide you through it. Please be assured that once you have got the hang of it, it will feel normal and it will all become automatic!
Alexander Technique teachers are now permitted to resume ‘hands-on’ teaching if we comply with government and CNHC guidelines for working more safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The main risks of Covid transmission occur through touch and through the air. By only working with one person at a time, in a carefully thought-out environment where students do not directly encounter each other coming and going, and by carefully and consistently following a number of other guidelines related to physical contact and air quality, the risks can be dramatically reduced (see "What are the risks" below).
Touch: cleaning all touched surfaces between students, and the frequent use of hand washing and hand sanitiser reduces this risk to a minimal level. I will not be touching student’s faces, or my own, and this is much easier to remember with masks.
Air Quality: Recent evidence suggests that airborne transmission may be a much the greater risk than touch. In addition, studies suggest that transmission outdoors is fully 95% lower than indoors, and this information can be used to further reduce reduce risk (see below). Several studies have shown that wearing a mask dramatically reduces the risk of transmission to others and somewhat reduces risk to yourself. The student is required to use the right sort of mask (ideally two or (better) three-ply cotton or disposable well-fitting masks. Dust excluding masks with a valve do nothing to protect others and should not be used. The teacher is required to use a certified Type-2 surgical mask (rated at 98% plus effective at protecting other people from the wearer, conforming to EN14683) and also a visor (face shield), which is quite protective for both parties. I ask that students bring their own mask, but I also keep a ready supply of disposables.
Lessons will be scheduled in such a way that students will not directly encounter each other (see below).
Working outside is ideal, and I will be doing this whenever the weather allows in a sheltered, covered area within my back garden (gate to the left of the house).
When that is not possible, I will be working in my usual teaching room taking several precautions to reduce airbourne transmission. The window will be open at all times, with a continuously running extractor fan (and the heat turned up when necessary!) to maximise ventilation. In addition, I will have in constant operation two modern air purifiers with fresh HEPA filters that are designed to remove 99.97% of airborne contaminants, including viruses.
I will continue to monitor and review relevant guidelines and update my written risk assessment (copy available on request) as appropriate.
Before the commencement of lessons, I will be sending all of my students an email that you will be asked to read carefully. This will include a list of COVID-19 related screening questions that students need to review ahead of their appointment and a list of instructions for students when attending a lesson. Both documents are reproduced below.
Please feel free to contact me with any concerns that you may have.
Peter Bloch, 27 August 2020; updated 20 February 2021
Simple measures, followed consistently, can dramatically reduce the risk of transmission of the Covid-19 virus. I will, as always, be putting the safety of my students first.
Update 8 April 2021
The government has now confirmed that Alexander Technique teachers will be able to return to work from 12th April.