COVID: Back to school

With schools reopening and returning to face-to-face learning from March 8th, the Government has set out new guidelines and testing requirements to ensure a safe return to the classroom. 

 

Many schools across the UK will also be taking a staggered approach to allow Covid testing to be carried out. 

 

PM Boris Johnson has addressed the importance of getting children back to school as soon as safely possible, "All the evidence shows that classrooms are the best places for our young people to be and that's why I've always said that schools would be the last to close and the first to reopen."

 

Rules for schools in England: 

  • Staff will continue to take regular COVID-19 tests each week at home.
  • Secondary school and higher education students will be tested for Covid-19 over the first two weeks of term and they will then be asked to carry out the rapid coronavirus tests at home twice a week.
  • Staff and students in secondary schools and colleges are advised to wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained and as a temporary extra measure.
  • Sports and other activities will resume. 

 

Health secretary, Matt Hancock commented, “Regular testing of households and childcare support bubbles of primary and secondary school children is another tool we are making available to help keep schools safe. We know that 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms, so targeted, regular testing will mean more positive cases are kept out of schools and colleges.”  

 

What are the rules for the rest of the UK?

 

In Scotland and Wales, all secondary school pupils will return to classrooms part-time from Monday 15th March

  • Face coverings will need to be worn at all times where 2-meter distancing is not possible. 
  • Covid tests will be offered to students and staff to take twice a week.

 

In Northern Ireland, schools will open to primary school pupils in years 1-3 on March 8th. However, pupils in years 4-7 in primaries and years 8-11 in post-primaries will not return to school before the Easter break at the start of April. Pupils in years 12-14 in post-primary schools will return to class on March 22nd. 

 

  • Face coverings will need to be worn at all times where 2-meter distancing is not possible. 
  • Covid tests will be offered to students and staff to take twice a week.

 

How long will students and staff have to wear a mask for? 

 

The Government has said for a "limited period", staff and students in higher education and secondary schools will be asked to wear face coverings indoors - including classrooms - unless 2-metre social distancing can be maintained.

 

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