Covid – 19 Update: January 2022 Return to School

A roundup of the latest government guidance for schools on Covid-19 measures to ensure regular school attendance

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Here is a quick round-up of the latest advice/guidance regarding Covid-19 and how schools should be working to support children to continue to attend on-site provision.

Self – Isolation

Since Wednesday 22 December, the 10-day self-isolation period for people who record a positive PCR test result for COVID-19 has been reduced to 7 days in most circumstances, unless you cannot test for any reason.

Individuals may now take LFD tests on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period. Those who receive two negative test results are no longer required to complete 10 full days of self-isolation. The first test must be taken no earlier than day 6 of the self-isolation period and tests must be taken 24 hours apart.

This also applies to children under five, with LFD testing at parental or guardian discretion. If both these test results are negative, and the person does not have a high temperature, they may end their self-isolation after the second negative test result and return to school from day 8.


Secondary school age pupils are encouraged to test twice weekly using a lateral flow test to reduce the spread of Covid-19 within schools. Where a student tests positive on a lateral flow test, a PCR test should be taken. 

If the PCR test is negative and the pupil is well enough to return to school, then the pupil should return.

If the PCR test is positive, then the pupil should self-isolate in line with the guidance above.

There is no need for primary school age children to test bi-weekly.

Face Coverings

As a temporary measure, the Government is recommending that students in year 7 and above wear a face covering in classrooms and teaching spaces. The advice is short term and will be reviewed on 26th January 2022 in line with current restrictions which are in force.

Face coverings continue to be recommended for adults in communal areas and for students travelling to school on public transport/school buses.

Contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19

Any child over the age of 5 who has been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 is advised to Lateral Flow test every day for 7 days following confirmation of contact. As long as the test is negative, and the child is not showing any symptoms then they can continue to attend school.

Children under 5 are exempt from self-isolation and do not need to take part in daily testing if they are a close contact of somebody with COVID-19.

Remote Education

Children who are required to self-isolate because of symptoms or a positive test should continue to have remote education provided to them. This education should mirror as closely as possible the learning they are missing within the classroom at that time.

Travelling to England from abroad

Children aged 4 and under do not have to take any COVID-19 travel tests. On arrival in England, they must quarantine until their responsible adult receives their day 2 test result back.

Children aged 12 to 17 must take a COVID-19 test in the 2 days before travel to England.

Children aged 5 to 17 have to follow the testing and quarantine rules for people who qualify as fully vaccinated on arrival in England.This means that they have to quarantine on arrival and take a PCR test on or before day 2.

The guidance on travel can be accessed here, it is important to be aware of the Country that the children are travelling from when considering the guidance as there are different rules for children travelling from red list countries.

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