The latest guidance in schools and what it means for children

Information taken directly from the most updated Schools Covid-19 Operational Guidance (February 2022) is in italics.

Where other documents are quoted, the links are shown.

The following information is likely to change as we receive more clarity from the government. We will endeavour to update it as soon as possible.

On 21 February the Prime Minister set out the next phase of the Government’s COVID- 19 response. COVID-19 continues to be a virus that we learn to live with and the imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education remains.


Tracing close contacts and isolation

The guidance on tracing close contacts and isolation applies until 23 February. From 24 February, schools should follow the published UKHSA guidance 



Asymptomatic testing

From 21 February, staff and pupils in mainstream secondary schools will not be expected to continue taking part in regular asymptomatic testing and should follow asymptomatic testing advice for the general population.

In the event of an outbreak, a school may also be advised by their local health team or director of public health to undertake testing for staff and students of secondary age and above for a period of time.  

All settings may be advised by their local public health team to recommend lateral flow device (LFD) tests to manage an outbreak. Education hub


Face coverings

In the event of an outbreak, a school may also be advised by their local health team or director of public health to temporarily re-introduce face coverings in communal areas or classrooms (by pupils, staff, and visitors, unless exempt)



Specialist Settings

The Department for Education confirmed the guidance on twice-weekly testing would be scrapped for all settings except special schools, alternative provision and SEND units in mainstream settings. Specialist settings are currently advised to continue regular twice-weekly testing. 



Positive cases still advised to stay at home


The legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test will be removed on 24th February, but adults and children testing positive will still be advised to stay at home for at least five full days and follow guidance until they have received two negative tests on consecutive days. Schools Week.

Find the latest guidance on testing positive and advice for staying at home here