Changes to measures and guidance for managing COVID-19 in education and childcare settings from Friday 1 April

On Tuesday 29 March, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, set out the next steps for living with COVID-19 in England from Friday 1 April. Free testing for the general public ends on 1 April as part of the Living with Covid plan which last month set out the government’s strategy to live with and manage the virus. Free COVID-19 tests will continue to be available for specific groups, including eligible patients and NHS staff, once the universal testing offer ends on Friday 1 April.

The latest guidance from the Department for Education advises:

  • Adults with the symptoms of a respiratory infection, and who have a high temperature or feel unwell, should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and they no longer have a high temperature  
  • Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. They can go back to school, college or childcare when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend
  • Adults with a positive COVID-19 test result should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days, which is when they are most infectious. For children and young people aged 18 and under, the advice will be 3 days

The population now has much stronger protection against COVID-19 than at any other point in the pandemic. This means we can begin to manage the virus like other respiratory infections, thanks to the success of the vaccination programme and access to antivirals, alongside natural immunity and increased scientific and public understanding about how to manage risk.

 Asymptomatic Testing:

  • Regular asymptomatic testing is no longer recommended in any education or childcare setting, including in SEND, alternative provision and children’s social care settings. Therefore, students will no longer be provided with test kits.
  • The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) will publish new guidance. Most of the specific COVID-19 guidance for education and childcare settings will be withdrawn from GOV.UK on Friday 1 April.

In School Covid-19 Vaccination Programme

  • The in-school COVID-19 vaccination programme ended on Friday 1 April. 12 to 15 year olds will still be able to access the vaccine outside of school, at a vaccination centre, pharmacy or walk-in centre.
  • Healthy 5 to 11 year olds will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine from the beginning of April. Vaccinations will take place outside of school, in vaccination centres, pharmacies, GP surgeries and walk-in centres. Parents of 5 to 11 year olds will receive a letter from the NHS with further information on the vaccine.
  • For 5 to 11 year old and 12 to 15 year old vaccinations, please signpost parents to where they can book COVID-19 vaccination appointments online, at a vaccination centre or pharmacy, or find a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site without needing an appointment. Appointments and walk-ins can be accessed

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