Many countries have responded to COVID-19 by using physical distancing and lockdown measures

The exact rules around these raise the question of what are ‘essential services’ and ‘non-essential services’. Essential services are done by essential or ‘key’ workers.

Using the ‘Who are key workers?’ sheet, cut up the job labels and create a Venn diagram placing the labels for the job roles in the essential services and non-essential services circles (use the overlap of the two circles, in the middle of the Venn diagram, for those roles that could be considered either essential or non-essential).

You can make a Venn diagram by using enlarged labels and large hoops or pieces of string or tape. You can also do the activity online. Now discuss your choices with an adult or partner. Would you change anything? Which services would you keep open and which would you close during the lockdown? What would be the consequences of doing this?

A list of workers and services considered as essential in England

A list of workers and services considered as essential in South Africa.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) 

Think about the different types of PPE you have seen or heard about during the Covid-19 pandemic. Discuss with an adult or partner what you think PPE has been used for and why. 

Now think about what level of PPE health workers and other workers in essential services need to protect themselves from the virus. Choose three jobs from your list of key workers involved in essential services from the previous activity and write them down in the table in the ‘Who needs PPE?’ sheet.

Tick what level of PPE equipment you think is needed for that job. You can also do the activity online. It might help to look back at the physical-distancing sheet.

What risks will the work involve? Will the work involve a risk from contaminated surfaces?

Will it involve a risk from larger droplets from other staff or members of the public who are speaking or breathing close by, or who share an enclosed space for a long period of time? Will it involve a risk of virus particles carried in tiny droplets from a sneeze or cough or perhaps released during an operation?