Yesterday the Government announced that self-isolation rules will be eased for fully vaccinated adults, allowing people to get on with their lives as we lift restrictions.
Self-isolation rules have been vital in helping to get the virus under control and save lives, but the continued success of our vaccine rollout means we can now ease these restrictions. That is why, from 16 August, those who have received a double vaccination but are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case will no longer be required to self-isolate unless they themselves test positive – and to ensure young people can make the most of their education, under-18s will also be exempt from self-isolation.
Introducing this exemption in August will enable even more people to have received both doses of the vaccine, significantly reducing the risk of severe illness and providing the fullest protection possible for people across the country. The NHS COVID-19 app will update in August in line with the new guidance on self-isolation for close contacts.
Young people and double vaccinated individuals identified as close contacts will continue to be advised to take a PCR test, to detect the virus and variants of concern. Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status.
Step-by-step and jab-by-jab, we are replacing the temporary protections of restrictions with the long-term protection of the vaccine, restoring our freedoms as we unlock our country.
For any more information on the Government’s announcement that self-isolation will be eased for fully vaccinated adults in step 4, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/self-isolation-to-be-eased-for-fully-vaccinated-adults-in-step-4.
COVID restrictions in education settings to end at Step 4
Yesterday the Government announced that further COVID restrictions in schools will end as part of Step 4 of our Roadmap, allowing children to get on with their education and learn safely in the classroom.
The enormous efforts made by students and teachers have allowed us to control the virus and save lives – and as we continue to ease restrictions, we will put the education and wellbeing of schoolchildren first. That is why, as part of Step 4 of our Roadmap, it is expected from 19 July, COVID bubbles in schools will end, social distancing will no longer be required, and start and finish times will no longer need to be staggered – however schools will be allowed to continue with these measures until the end of term if they wish.
From Step 4, NHS test and trace will carry out contact tracing in all education settings rather than being run by the school or college. Those identified as close contacts will be advised to take a PCR test, and only need to isolate if they test positive. Children must self-isolate if they have symptoms of COVID or a positive test result.
Testing for close contacts under 18 will be split into two categories. All Primary, Secondary and College age children should take a single PCR test. Early Years children should only take a PCR test if a member of their household tests positive.
Protective measures will remain in place for the autumn term in all education settings including practicing good hygiene, ventilation, and regular testing until the end of September to strike a balance between relaxing restrictions and minimising further disruption to children’s education. Two onsite tests should be taken by each secondary school and college student on return, followed by twice weekly testing at home. The Government will review testing requirements by the end of September.
Education settings will continue to have an outbreak management plan and work with local health teams, as is standard practice. Local Directors of Public Health may advise a setting to temporarily reintroduce some control measures in the event of an outbreak.
All school trips, drama, music and sporting activity will be able to resume in line with the relaxation of restrictions across society from Step 4. Education settings still operating over the summer will continue to test twice a week, with asymptomatic test kits still available to families over the summer break.
In line with measures for wider society, the Government will be recommending that face coverings will no longer be necessary in any education setting and social distancing will no longer be necessary, including in schools and colleges. This differs from Step 3 of the roadmap, where face coverings were no longer recommended for pupils and students in classrooms or communal areas.
The determination of students and teachers has paid off – these measures will allow young people to get on with their lives and get the world-class education they deserve.
For any more information on the easing of restrictions in education settings, including comments from the Education Secretary, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-restrictions-in-education-settings-to-end-at-step-4.