The Prime Minister’s 17th May statement can be read here. All other protective measures remain in place and regular rapid testing will continue to help find and isolate asymptomatic cases when they do occur.
The guidance on face coverings in education has been amended to reflect that from 17th May face coverings will no longer be recommended for pupils and students in classrooms or communal areas, in all schools and colleges. Face coverings will also no longer be recommended for staff in classrooms. In all schools and colleges, the Government continues to recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of classrooms where social distancing is not possible.
Importantly, the guidance also says: “The reintroduction of face coverings for pupils, students or staff may be advised for a temporary period in response to particular localised outbreaks, including variants of concern. In all cases, any educational drawbacks should be balanced with the benefits of managing transmission. The Local Action Committee structure (Bronze/Silver/Gold) should be used in such circumstances to re-introduce the use of face coverings. Immediate outbreak response (at the level of individual settings or a cluster of settings) remains for local Directors of Public Health to advise on.”
Schools Covid-19 Operational Guidance has also been amended to reflect the above. In addition to amendments to the section of face coverings, there are also other significant changes to the guidance, summarised below.
Pupils abroad who are unable to return
Page 32 of the guidance contains a new section on pupils abroad who are unable to return. Please refer to the full detail in the guidance on:
The guidance amends some aspects of CEV and CV staff – please refer to page 35 following. An additional section has been added which confirms that specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff for pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND) can attend schools to provide interventions as usual where this is reasonably necessary, including where this requires them to move between settings.
Page 47 following sets out new guidance in relation to educational visits. Please refer to the guidance for the full details.
Transitional, taster and open days
Transitional, taster and open days can go ahead (page 49 of the guidance) following completion of a thorough risk assessments before running transitional, taster and open days to ensure that they are run in line with your system of controls and align with the advice contained within this guidance and the roadmap out of lockdown.
The following guidance documents have also been updated to reflect these changes: