From Monday 8th March, primary, secondary schools and colleges will open to all children in England in the first step of the Government’s roadmap out of the COVID-19 restrictions because education is a national priority and is vital for children’s education and wellbeing.

Schools are going to great lengths to ensure they are as safe as possible ahead of the return. COVID-19 safety measures will continue to be in place at schools to help reduce the spread of the virus, and protect the welfare of both teachers and pupilsNew measures include twice weekly COVID-19 testing for teachers, secondary school students and parents who have no symptoms as well as all education staff, and pupils in secondary schools and colleges are advised to wear face coverings in all areas if social distancing is not possible. Alongside the new testing process and revised guidance for face coverings, existing protective measures will be in place including bubbles, increased hygiene such as frequent hand washing, opening windows to let fresh air into the classrooms more regularly (ventilation) and staggered break and lunch times.

Pupils will first learn how to take three tests in their school or college so they can then do it confidently at home. All teaching staff (primary and secondary) and secondary school pupils will then be asked to do rapid lateral flow tests at home twice a week after they return to the classroom. In addition, staff and students in secondary schools and colleges are now advised to wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained. 

Children’s doctor and TV presenter, Dr Ranj Singh, recently went behind the scenes at a secondary school in London ahead of the full return to discuss the measures in place with teachers and pupils in a new film which has just been released. The film, released as part of the Department for Education’s #Backtoschool campaign, supports the wider opening of education settings and discusses the importance of face-to-face education.