Schools are looking forward to welcoming back pupils in September for the new academic year. The government has removed many of the restrictions to help reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education, so you will see some changes. Of course, it is still necessary to be careful and all schools have a robust risk assessment in place.
The main changes from this term are:
- No bubbles – pupils can mix freely.
- No need to self-isolate - if pupils are a close contact of a positive case they will be advised to take a PCR test.
- Social distancing will no longer be necessary.
- No requirement for face coverings - though pupils are free to wear them if they want to. Staff and visitors are free to wear a face covering in communal areas if they wish to.
- No staggered start and finish times.
- No curriculum limits (eg indoor sports, music).
- Staff and visitors who are a close contact will not need to isolate if they are fully vaccinated (latest dose more than two weeks previously). They should take a PCR test.
Staying the same
- Please continue to let school know if someone tests positive.
- Secondary school pupils, teachers and staff will still need to test themselves twice a week, using lateral flow tests. If they test positive they still need to book a PCR test and if positive, isolate for ten days. Pupils will be given two tests at school at the start of term then will be expected to test at home.
- Schools will continue to keep classrooms well ventilated and clean, and encourage good hygiene and hand washing.
- Pupils should stay at home if they feel unwell and you should book them a PCR test.
- Everyone who tests positive must self isolate. Their close contacts should take a PCR test.
By taking up the vaccine, you will protect yourself and others. Close contacts over 18 years who are unvaccinated or incomplete vaccination still do need to self-isolate for ten days.
What happens if there’s a significant outbreak at a school?
The council’s Public Health team will get involved and support the school to manage the outbreak. They may arrange more testing, reintroduce bubbles and face coverings, or in extreme circumstances restrict attendance at school to stop the spread.
What if my child is clinically extremely vulnerable?
Pupils who are clinically extremely vulnerable should attend school, but if you are feeling are anxious, you should speak to your school about your concerns and discuss whether any changes can be made to ensure that your child can regularly attend school.