When are bubbles ending and what does this mean?
On July 19, bubbles will no longer be required in schools in England. This means that children in different classes or year groups will be allowed to mingle with each other at school for the first time since last summer.
The start and end of the school day will no longer need to be staggered, neither will break times nor lunch times. Schools will be able to have a full assembly with children from all different year groups together at the same time.
After-school clubs, whole school orchestras, sports days and end-of-term events such as summer fairs will all be allowed to go ahead.
However, the Department for Education has given schools some flexibility about whether they implement these changes immediately. Their official guidance says that schools “may wish” to continue with bubbles until the end of the summer term.
Could bubbles ever come back?
Yes. Official guidance says that it “may become necessary to reintroduce bubbles” for a temporary period if there is an outbreak. Schools are told to contact their local public health teams to report a potential outbreak if they have several confirmed cases within 14 days.
The guidance says that any decision to recommend the reintroduction of bubbles should not be taken lightly and should “take account of the detrimental impact they can have on the delivery of education”.
Self-isolation exodus from schools
When will healthy children stop having to self-isolate?
From August 16, the legal requirement for children to self-isolate for 10 days if they have come into contact with someone who tested positive will end. After this date, anyone under the age of 18 who is deemed by NHS Test and Trace to be a “close contact” of someone with Covid will be advised to get a PCR test, but can continue attending school.
The only reason children should stay at home to isolate is if they have tested positive or if they have symptoms.
What will happen if a child has symptoms?
Children will still need to self-isolate if they display Covid symptoms. Department for Education guidance states that a student who has Covid symptoms can be refused entry to school if a headteacher believes it is “necessary” to protect other pupils and staff. Teachers should make these decisions on a case-by-base basis and should use their “reasonable judgement”.
What other Covid measures will still be in place during the autumn term?
Secondary school pupils will be asked to take two lateral flow tests at school when they return in September. They will also be advised to continue taking two tests each week at home, and follow up any positive result with a confirmatory PCR test.
At the end of September, this policy will be reviewed. Schools will still have to have thorough cleaning regimes in place, as well as good ventilation of classrooms.
How has lockdown affected your child? Let us know below
Children lockdown mental health callout/form