A National Priority
The government has been clear that the return to face-to-face education is the national priority. Two weeks notice will be given ahead of any change.
The return to school for all pupils is being prioritised as the health and well being of many children and young people has been significantly impacted during this time.
Measures to be implemented in schools
All students will begin to return to face-to-face education on 8th March with the following testing measures in place:
- All primary school children will return on Monday 8th March. Primary school staff will continue to ta ke two rapid COVID-19 tests each week at home.
- All secondary school and college students will take three COVID-19 tests as they return to the classroom from the 8th March at existing school testing facilities. Schools and colleges will have discretion on how to test students over that week to enable their return to the classroom. After the initial programme of three tests in school or college, students will be provided with two rapid tests to use each week at home.
- Secondary school and college staff will also be provided with two tests to use each week at home.
- University students on practical courses who need to access specialist facilities and equipment can return to in-person teaching and learning from Monday 8th March. Twice weekly testing will continue to be available for all on campus
Wraparound childcare for primary and secondary pupils will resume from Monday 8th March.
This will enable parents to access work, education or medical care where necessary.
Staff and students in secondary schools and colleges are advised to wear face coverings in all areas.
This includes classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained and as a temporary extra measure.
For the remaining university students
By the end of the Easter holidays, the government will review the options for the timing of their return.
This will take into account the latest data and will then be a key part of the wider roadmap steps.
Students and institutions will be given a week’s notice ahead of any return.
For independent nurseries and childminders
All staff at private, voluntary and independent nurseries will have access to tests to use twice weekly at home.
This will build on the testing already available to maintained nursery schools and school-based nurseries.
Childminders can continue to access community testing.
The Department continues to work with colleagues across government to review the testing approach available for childminders.