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Does the move into Step 4 mean the ending of Covid-19 restrictions within schools?

8 July 2021

Please note: the information contained in this legal update is correct as of the original date of publication.

With the Prime Ministers announcement that he intends for Step 4 to begin on 19 July, this will also bring an end to the restrictions currently in place on education settings. This will mean that it is no longer necessary to have bubbles within the school, nor will students, staff and visitors be legally required to wear face coverings either in classrooms or communal areas. From 16 August, only those who test positive will need to self-isolate, and it will no longer be a legal requirement for those under 18 to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone who tested positive.

However, schools needs to continue to remain vigilant against Covid-19. On a basic level, the Government have recommended that each school has control measures in place. This includes ensuring that all are practising good hygiene, maintaining the appropriate cleaning regimes, keeping occupied spaces well ventilated, and continuing to follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation, and managing confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Schools also need to create an outbreak management plan to be in place for the Autumn term. Whilst it will no longer be a school’s responsibility to undertake contact tracing and a reintroduction of any restrictions should be a last resort, schools do need to be prepared in case an outbreak occurs as it may be necessary to reintroduce a temporary period of restrictions.

The Government have provided further detail regarding how Step 4 will affect schools here.

For more information on the impact of Covid-19 in Education, visit our Coronavirus Hub.

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