During the pandemic, most private tutoring has been conducted virtually, often using online platforms such as Zoom. While this has been a valuable resource for tutors who would otherwise be unable to work and students who wouldn't be able to access learning, it's not an ideal situation. However, Covid restrictions are being gradually relaxed, so what's the situation now? Can Tutoring lessons take place in-person? Is it allowed yet?
Government Guidelines on Out of School Activities
As of 12th April, the Government has updated its guidelines for out of school activities. While this incorporates activities ranging from after-school clubs to day-care for under-fives, the definition includes the provision of private tuition.
Broadly speaking, the change means that private tuition can now take place, individually or in a group, in either the student's home, the tutor's home or another venue. However, this doesn't mean going all the way back to pre-pandemic normality. Whichever setting you're using, there are a number of precautions that you'll need to take.
Safeguards with Individual Students
If you need to give lessons in your own home, then there are several things you'll have to put in place:
● Ensure social distancing as much as it's possible to do so for the activity.
● Facemasks should be worn as much as possible, although this won't be feasible for all activities. Children of primary age or below are not recommended to wear facemasks.
● Keep the premises well ventilated.
● Have hand gel available and encourage your students to use it as frequently as possible.
● Thoroughly clean all surfaces the student is likely to touch, as well as any shared equipment, between sessions.
If sessions are taking place in the student's home, you should implement as many of the measures as you can (e.g. encouraging social distancing and wearing facemasks, and bring a supply of hand gel). At the same time, speak in advance to the student or their parents to emphasise the importance of the other measures. If they're unwilling to comply, the best advice is to refuse to attend an in-person session. Of course, if either you, the student or anyone in either household has tested positive for Covid-19, the session should be cancelled until it's safe to go ahead.
Organising Group Sessions
If at all possible, in-person tutoring should be done on a one-to-one basis, but this may not be practical for activities like dance or sports. If it's essential to offer group classes, several additional safeguards are necessary, besides those already given — especially if the sessions are indoors. You'll need to plan in advance to make sure that the venue makes it possible for your students to maintain social distancing, and keep the numbers to a level that enables this. Also, especially if your students are children, consider which of them mix together outside the class, and try to keep any groups within the session confined to those contacts. If you're hiring a hall or learning centre, you obviously won't be responsible for cleaning. In this case, ask to see the venue's cleaning policy and make sure you and your students will be safe.
In-Person or Online?
Offering in-person lessons is allowed now, and if you've struggled to keep up progress online, then by all means use this approach — as long as you follow the safety measures. However, if online lessons have been working, then it would best to stick to this approach for a little longer, till the emergency is completely over. Register with TutorExtra for more advice on offering private tutoring during the pandemic, as well as finding students.