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Customer Advice COVID-19

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As schools face the many challenges caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) we want to assure you that at AMI Education we are closely monitoring the situation to ensure we can continue to support our customers.

 

We take our duty of care to our employees, customers and clients very seriously, and we will always follow the latest Government advice

 

Advice to Schools

 

As a valued AMI Education customer we appreciate the trust you put in us to ensure your systems continue to work seamlessly so we have outlined our continuity plans below.

 

School Closures

 

If your school should need to close, we ask that your systems remain switched on and running. This will allow our support team to carry out remote upgrades and continue to work on any outstanding cases, helping to reduce any issues and ensuring your return to school is as seamless as possible.

 

Ongoing Support

 

In the event of COVID-19 closing the AMI office, or employees working from home in isolation, staff will be working from home using their office equipment.

 

For sales, please ring: 08456 717 101 or email: sales@amieducation.com

For support please: 08450 714 667 or email: support@amieducation.com

These will be picked up as normal by the support/sales team and dealt with.

 

We may have to postpone site visits that have already been arranged, and there may be some delay in processing orders for parts. We encourage you to continue to place orders as normal and we will update you on the expected timelines as the order progresses.

 

Staying Safe

 

As the coronavirus situation continues to evolve, our thoughts go out to all who have been impacted or infected. We hope you are safe, well and are taking all the necessary precautions.

Education
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Reopening schools around the world

Schools: A global view

As schools begin to re-open across the globe, we take a look at the varied measures countries are taking to ensure the safeguarding of their staff and pupils. 

  • In Denmark, primary schools opened their doors in the middle of April, with secondary schools following one month later. The classroom looks remarkably different as desks are stationed six feet apart, and parents are no longer allowed inside school buildings. To ensure pupils adhere to social distancing guidelines, classes are held outside where possible, and communal areas such as playgrounds and school libraries are currently closed. Schools have also installed handwashing stations outside of the buildings and students are encouraged to wash their hands every hour.

  • Germany has also begun to reopen schools, prioritising younger pupils and those pupils due to sit exams.
    Classrooms have been set up so that desks are two meters apart and display all of the necessary signs and posters that encourage social distancing and hand washing. School leaders state that face masks will be encouraged but is not mandatory.
 

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"Children quite rightly want to return to their normal lives," said Mrs Merkel.

  • Similarly to Germany, pupils in Austria returned to school earlier this month. However, to ensure safe social distancing, schools in Austria are splitting their class sizes in half. This means that pupils will now be attending school 2.5 days a week, to alternate the classroom space. 

  • In France, the education ministry has issued detailed instructions to schools on how to keep their premises clean and their pupils safe. The document states that; children over the age of 11 need to wear masks, a class cannot exceed 15 children, there are to be no shared toys, and schools are to implement timed arrivals.
    However, even with these safety requirements in place, parents are reluctant to send their children back to school. Jean-Michel Blanquer, French Education Minister said:

"It's impossible to say to a family that they are obliged to send their child

back if they don't want to, in this kind of context"

  •  Schools have re-opened in Asia, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and parts of Japan. In Japan, Taiwan, and China, staff members are taking students' temperatures before they enter school buildings. Whereas in Beijing, pupils are required to fill out a survey on an app that calculates a person's risk of infection. Some students were also given personal thermometers and are required to take their temperature twice a day while at school.  

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  • In Israel, schools are beginning to open for elementary school pupils. However, like France, significant numbers of parents initially chose to keep their children at home. Second and third graders in Israel wear protective masks while in school, but not in the classroom. 

  • For New Zealand, the Ministry of Education has said that schools “can start a transition period from Thursday 14 May”, which allows them to bring different year groups back gradually and gives them the option of providing a “transition arrangement” for those children “whose parents are anxious about their return to school”. 

  • Schools in Sweden have remained open throughout. They have relied on social distancing and hygiene measures to reduce the spread of infection. School leaders in Sweden have followed similar advice to schools around the world, such as:
    - Keeping sick staff and students at home
    - Raising awareness of hand hygiene
    - Extra cleaning
    - Social distancing
    - Heading outside, where possible
    - Continually preparing for changes

  •  As the United Kingdom prepares to re-open schools over the next few months, with some schools in England preparing to return as early as June, we take a look at some of the guidance education professionals will be following:

    1. Reducing the size of classes and keeping children in small groups
    Class sizes are also expected to be limited to 15 pupils, which will be particularly difficult for large secondary schools across the UK. To facilitate this, schools are being asked to utilise other spaces that they have available, and in some cases, teachers may be asked to move classrooms, instead of pupils, to help control traffic in communal school areas.

    2. Staggered break and lunchtimes, as well as drop-offs and pick-ups
    Staggering break times will give schools more control over high-traffic areas, and ensure that social distancing guidelines are adhered to.

    3. Increasing the frequency of cleaning
    As well as maintaining a high level of cleanliness in the school building with thorough and frequent sanitisation of any shared objects, education professionals will also be tasked with encouraging pupils to increase the number of times a day that they wash their hands.    
 

Were here to help the return to school process as easy as possible. Get in touch.

 

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Education
Stop wasting food
Stop Food Waste Day 2020

Reducing food wastage in schools

We’re all encouraged to adopt eco-friendly habits such as recycling, switching off lights when they’re not in use and taking shorter showers, but reducing food wastage could be one of the key actions we can take to minimise our impact to the environment.

 

On Stop Food Waste Day 2020, we’re looking at how schools and pupils can reduce food wastage to help protect the environment and save time and money.

 

Many adults are aware of the smaller measures they can take to help protect the environment, and whilst these efforts should be encouraged, schools need to instil these habits from an early age and make pupils aware of the impact they can make, especially when it comes to wasting food.

 

Whilst most schools teach pupils about ways in which we can help save the environment, schools and caterers can put these lessons into practice every lunchtime by taking the appropriate measures to ensure that food wastage is kept to a minimum.

 

Reduce food wastage with cashless catering software

Switching to cashless catering such as pre-ordering software is one of the most effective ways that schools can minimise their environmental impact and reduce food wastage on a larger scale. AMI’s range of pre-ordering software, including Transact, allows pupils of all ages to pre-order their school lunches, sending orders to the kitchen ahead of time to allow catering staff to prepare meals in advance. By informing staff of meal choices in advance, schools can avoid producing too much food and can focus on only preparing what is necessary.

 

On a primary school level, Transact provides a fun and interactive solution for pupils to pre-order their meal selection during the morning registration process. Pupils can make their selection at a teacher’s PC or interactive whiteboard, sending orders to the kitchen in advance. By giving younger pupils the option to choose their food in a fun and interactive way, pupils are encouraged to take interest and become excited about their food choices, making them more likely to eat all of their lunch and reducing the risk of food being left on the plate.

 

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Pre-ordering school meals also helps reduce food waste by minimising queuing times, allowing pupils to choose their favourite lunch options in advance, ensuring they have access to the food they enjoy, whilst reducing queuing times and giving students adequate time to enjoy their lunch. By improving the dining experience and making lunchtime enjoyable for all pupils, food wastage can be reduced and save schools time and money.

 

Where food is being wasted in schools

Waste management experts WRAP found that in both primary and secondary schools, the kitchen and canteen areas produced the majority of the total food waste, representing food that is prepared in the kitchen and served, but not eaten in the canteen. In primary schools, the total produced in these two areas was 72%, with an equal split between the kitchen (36%) and canteen (36%). This can be reduced with the implementation of cashless catering software, benefitting staff and pupils.

 

The organisers of Stop Food Waste Day are encouraging everyone to take the pledge to reduce their food wastage and urge others to do the same. They have found that 33% of all food produced globally is lost or wasted every year, whilst 25% of the global food wasted could feed 795 million undernourished people in the world.

 

Food

 

How schools can help

Here are some other ways that schools can encourage pupils to reduce their food wastage:

  • Serve correct portion sizes- younger children don’t need big portions, therefore if they are given larger quantities of food, they are likely to become too full and leave the majority on their plate, which can be avoided by serving portions appropriate to the child’s age. For older pupils, encourage them to eat smaller portions, and only go back for seconds if they’re still hungry.
 
  • Encourage pupils to discover the flavours they like- years ago, children were often encouraged to eat whatever was given to them, even if they didn’t like that food. If children discover flavours they enjoy and learn their favourite types of food, they are less likely to waste unwanted food and are more likely to clear their plates at lunchtime.
 
  • Encourage school dinners over packed lunches- a recent study by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex has found that the provision of free school meals in schools is a useful weapon in the fight against childhood obesity, with school meals providing more nutrition than packed lunches. If pupils are given a range of choices for their lunch, they’re more likely to choose the food they enjoy, whilst schools can monitor the nutritional value of the options provided.
 
  • Promote a calm eating environment- many pupils are likely to get excited about lunchtime, however, if the dining hall is noisy, this can cause an unpleasant eating environment for some pupils, prompting them to avoid spending time in the dining hall, leaving behind the food on their plates.
 
  • Make pupils aware of the issue- especially for older pupils, schools can demonstrate the impact of food wastage on their environment on a wider scale, similarly to Loughborough High who launched a campaign after realising how much food was being thrown out. They started by measuring a week’s waste and then filling the equivalent of black bags (around 20) with paper and card and putting them in the middle of the school hall so pupils saw them when they arrived for assembly. The students were then asked to come up with their ideas for reducing waste.
 

Visit Stop Food Waste Day’s website to learn more about the campaign.