*LATEST UPDATE*

As COVID-19 becomes a virus that we learn to live with, there is now an imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education - particularly given that the direct risks to children are extremely low, every adult has been offered the opportunity for 2 doses of the vaccine, and all children aged 12 and over are now eligible for vaccination. However, as set out in the autumn and winter plan, the government will remain vigilant and take action where necessary to support and protect the NHS.

The main messages from this 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
  • your nursery, school or college no longer trace close contacts - close contacts will 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 are no longer required to self-isolate
  • your child no longer needs to remain in a consistent group (‘bubble’)
  • the government has removed 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
  • all children aged 12 and over are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination
  • changes to advice for clinically extremely vulnerable children and young people