The DfE has today published operational guidance to apply to schools from step 4 (currently expected to be from 19 July)
Please see a summary of the guidance below. This will come into effect when the children return on Thursday 2nd September 2021. After what has been such a difficult and challenging time for us all, I'm sure you will agree this is positive news and will allow our school community and most importantly our children, to begin to return to normality.
No more bubbles
- The guidance no longer recommends ‘bubbles’ from step 4. The guidance expressly states that this means assemblies can resume and schools no longer need to keep bubbles separate at lunchtime. In some local areas it may be necessary to reintroduce bubbles for a temporary period but this will be communicated with parents.
- This allows us to end staggered start and end times to the school day. From September all children can arrive at school between 8.45-8.55am and filter directly into classes. Monday to Thursday our Key Stage 1 children will finish school at 3.20pm and our Key Stage 2 children 3.25pm. The collection time on a Friday is 2.30pm for the whole school. Breakfast/After School Clubs will run as usual.
No more self-isolation for close contacts (children under 18)
- From 16th August 2021 children under 18 will no longer be required to self-isolate if contacted by test and trace as a close contact. Instead they will be advised to take a PCR test.
- Schools will no longer be required to do close contact tracing from step 4. Close contacts will be identified by test and trace.
- Note this will not apply if the child lives in the same household as someone who is a positive case, they must then self-isolate.
No more face coverings
- Face coverings will no longer be advised for pupils, staff or visitors. These will also no longer be required on school transport. However, the wearing of a facecovering is personal choice and all visitors are welcome to do so if they wish.
- If there is an outbreak in school, public health may advise the school to temporarily re-introduce face coverings and this should be reflected in outbreak management plans.
Risk assessments and continued control measures
- School will continue to have a risk assessment in place in order to comply with health and safety law and put in place proportionate control measures. There are still control measures set out in the guidance including:-
- hand hygiene,
- respiratory hygiene,
- appropriate cleaning schedule,
- keeping rooms well ventilated
- self isolation of those with symptoms, positive cases and those with a positive case in their household
Self-isolation- when it will apply
- Pupils and staff should not come into school if they have symptoms (even if they have been vaccinated), a positive test result or are quarantining after a trip abroad. Anyone who develops Covid 19 symptoms (however mild) should be sent home to follow public health advice to self-isolate and get a PCR test. The individual’s household should then follow the public health stay at home guidance for households with a possible or confirmed Covid-19 infection (this applies even if members of the household have had two doses of the coronavirus vaccine).
- School Staff will continue to undertake twice weekly home tests whenever they are on site until the end of September when this will be reviewed.
- Staff with positive LFD tests will self-isolate and get a PCR test to confirm the result.
CEV children and staff
- All previously shielding children should attend school unless there is express medical advice not to attend.
Remote education and free school meals
- School will maintain our capacity to deliver high quality remote education for the next academic year if required.
- Free school meal support will be provided to any pupils who are eligible for benefits related free school meals if they are learning at home during term time.
Education recovery and inspections
- Exam and assessment results from Summer 2021 will not be published in performance tables.