Advice for parents as children return to school

As children return to school after the summer break, the government has issued new guidance to schools on how the virus is managed in all educational settings.
Group of young volunteers with certificate and cake

The advice states that there is now an imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education - particularly given that the direct clinical risks to children are extremely low, every adult has been offered a first vaccine and the opportunity for two doses by mid-September and as COVID-19 becomes a virus that we learn to live with.

The key messages from government guidance are:

  • nationally, education and childcare settings are open, and attendance is mandatory (for schools) and strongly encouraged (at childminders, nurseries and colleges)
  • 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
  • continuing to take regular rapid tests will help you to identify infections early and reduce transmission
  • there is no need for primary age pupils (those in year 6 and below) to test over the summer period
  • secondary schools and colleges have been asked to prepare for on-site testing at the beginning of the autumn term
  • your nursery, school or college will no longer trace close contacts - close contacts will still be identified via NHS Test and Trace
  • children and young people aged under 18 years 6 months who usually attend school, and have been identified as a close contact should continue to attend school as normal
  • your child does not need to remain in a consistent group (‘bubble’)
  • the government is removing the requirement to wear face coverings in law but expects and recommends that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with people you don’t normally meet

For the full guidance visit

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