Reopening of School - September 2021
Since last term, there has been a new phase in the government’s response to the pandemic. There is a move away from stringent restrictions, towards offering advice and guidance to people on how to protect themselves and others, aided by the national vaccination programme being rolled out in earnest.
Principles guiding management of COVID-19 in educational settings from autumn are to protect time in face-to-face education, minimise disruption and ensure the response to COVID–19 is proportionate to risk. This is verified by the latest PHE publications about the risk of transmission and illness in education settings:
‘the risk of transmission in education settings and the risk of severe illness in children and young people is low; in contrast there are significant harms associated with missed education.’
Control Measures in Educational Settings
Schools COVID-19 operational guidance updated on 17th August 2021, outlines that educational settings no longer need to operate with some of the control measures that have been in place in response to the Covid-19 pandemic previously; this includes the removal of bubbles and staggered start times.
The main symptoms of COVID-19 that are stated in updated guidance and are to be used to inform all decision making including exclusion from school are:
- new continuous cough and/or
- fever (temperature of 37.8°C or higher)
- Loss of or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
Guidance states that settings should continue to use the following baseline control measures to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 when staff and pupils return for the autumn term.
- Ensuring good hand hygiene for everyone.
- Maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes.
- Keeping spaces well ventilated.
- Following public health advice regarding testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of Covid-19.