COVID-19 UPDATE – DECEMBER 2nd 2020
Once England reverts to the revised tier system after 2 December, we will continue to adhere to the DfE’s main guidance document for the full reopening of schools. Our Operational Risk Assessment and Information Pack for Parents both updated on November 26th are borne out of this guidance.
A number of revisions have been made to the main schools’ guidance document and these will take effect from 2 December:
- Face coverings - The Government is not recommending universal use of face coverings in schools. In the medium alert level, schools that teach Year 7 and above have discretion “to require face coverings for pupils, staff and visitors in indoor areas outside the classroom where social distancing cannot easily be maintained”. This becomes mandatory for schools that teach Year 7 and above in high alert or very high alert areas.
- Transport - The guidance confirms that children and young people aged 11 and over must wear a face covering when travelling on dedicated transport to secondary school.
- Attendance; self-isolating and shielding - The guidance states: “The advice for pupils who remain in the clinically extremely vulnerable group is that they should return to school from 2 December at all local restriction tiers unless they are one of the very small number of pupils or students under paediatric or NHS care (such as recent transplant or very immunosuppressed children) and have been advised specifically by their GP or clinician not to attend an education setting.” It also says: “All staff can continue to attend school in all three local restriction tiers,” although schools may wish to discuss flexibilities with clinically extremely vulnerable staff in very high alert areas, such as staggered start times to reduce travel during rush hour.
- Educational visits - Schools are still advised not to take pupils on domestic overnight visits, though this will be reviewed in February 2021 with the possibility that such visits could resume at Easter.
- Sport and physical education - Schools have the flexibility to decide how physical education, sport and physical activity will be provided whilst following the measures in their system of controls. Sports whose national governing bodies have developed guidance under the principles of the Government’s guidance on team sport - and have been approved by the Government - are permitted.