You have probably seen that there are some changes coming to the COVID-19 restrictions in schools. Let’s break it down and understand what this means.
The guidance for schools across England has been updated by the The Department for Education (DfE) following the Prime Minister’s announcement that the country is moving to Step 4 of the Government’s roadmap from 19 July 2021. The new changes mean that the disruption that the pandemic has had on education will be minimised going forward.
This new update contains guidance on ending children group bubbles, removing face coverings in classrooms, in communal areas and on school transport. As well as what to do when people test positive for COVID-19. Summer breaks will have largely started by July 19th, but the schools, colleges, university and early year settings that remain open, will be able to relax their restrictions at this point.
Changes starting on the 19th of July
The 19th of July marks the ending of group bubbles in schools. This means pupils will no longer be required to remain in year group or classroom bubbles, and will be allowed to mix freely.
Face coverings will no longer be mandatory and neither will social distancing. Secondary pupils, teachers, staff and their families will still have to continue to test and isolate if they are positive or if they have been a close contact to a positive case.
Changes starting on the 16th of August
By 16th August the wholesale isolation of groups of pupils will cease in time for the Autumn term. In addition to this, the legal requirement to self-isolate for contacts of a positive case will end for everyone aged under 18, and for adults who have been fully vaccinated. This means by September, the only people who need to self isolate are those who have tested positive. When a student has been in contact with someone who has tested positive, Track and Trace will advise them to take a PCR test and if positive, only then are they required to isolate.
The Covid-19 changes in schools includes the update that face coverings are no longer recommended in all education settings, post 16th August. All staff will no longer have to wear face coverings in communal areas. Headteachers may still wish to recommend that pupils wear them, and pupils themselves remain free to wear face coverings if they decide to do so. Staff and visitors are free to wear a face covering in communal areas if they wish to. It may be the case that, in the event of a significant outbreak, face coverings in schools will again be recommended.
Testing remains important and students and staff should continue twice weekly testing either using home test kits or at an on-site facility. The tests should be taken three-four days apart.
We hope this cleared some things up for you. If you need more advice on the guidance, get in touch! Want to read more? Here are our sources –