As you will probably already be aware, all remaining legal requirements in relation to COVID-19 in England have now been removed and replaced by guidance and an emphasis on taking personal responsibility. As a result the vast majority of the restrictions previously put in place in schools are no longer necessary.
The key messages from the government for schools are now;
- the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has made it clear that the overwhelming majority of children and young people still have no symptoms or very mild illness only.
- From 1st April the in-school COVID-19 vaccination programme will come to an end. However, 12 to 15 year olds will still be able to access the vaccine outside of schools at a vaccination centre, pharmacy or walk-in centre. Parents can book a Covid-19 vaccination appointment online or by speaking to their GP or calling 119. Alternatively, they can find a walk-in Covid-19 vaccination site.
- From April, healthy 5-11 year olds will also be offered the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccinations will take place outside of schools in vaccination centres, pharmacies, GPs and walk-in centres. Parents of 5-11 year olds will receive a letter from the NHS with further information. Online bookings for 5-11 year olds will open in April.
- Routine testing for staff or pupils no longer needs to be carried out in any school setting.
- All schools will continue to ensure that rooms are well ventilated and good hand hygiene practices are observed.
You can find further information published by the government on how to deal with a respiratory illness, including suspected COVID-19, by clicking here.
Please note that it is not recommended that anyone under the age of 18 takes a COVID-19 test unless asked to do so by a health professional. If your child feels unwell and has a high temperature, then they should remain at home until they feel well enough to return. However, if they have only mild symptoms, such as a runny nose or cough, then they should be in school as usual. In the event of the child having a positive COVID-19 test then they are only required to be out of school for the three days following the day of the test, providing that their temperature has subsided and they are well enough to return after this period.