BACKGROUND: We examined fidelity and feasibility of implementation of COVID-19 preventive measures in schools, and explored associations between adherence to these measures and staff well-being, to inform policy on sustainable implementation and staff wellbeing.
METHODS: Surveys were conducted across 128 schools in England with 107 headteachers and 2698 staff-members with reference to autumn term 2020, examining school-level implementation of preventive measures, adherence, and teacher burnout (response rates for headteacher and staff surveys were 84% and 59%, respectively).
RESULTS: The median number of measures implemented in primary and secondary schools was 33 (range 23-41), and 32 (range 22-40), respectively; most measures presented challenges. No differences were found regarding number of measures implemented by school-level socio-economic disadvantage. High adherence was reported for staff wearing face-coverings, staff regularly washing their hands, (secondary only) desks facing forwards, and (primary only) increased cleaning of surfaces and student hand-washing. Adherence to most measures was reported as higher in primary than secondary schools. Over half of school leaders and 42% (517/1234) of other teaching staff suffered from high emotional exhaustion. Higher teacher-reported school-wide adherence with measures was consistently associated with lower burnout for leaders and other teaching staff.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings indicate a tremendous effort in implementing preventive measures and an urgent need to support investments in improving teacher wellbeing.