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Some school and nursery Covid-19 measures relaxed

12 October 2021

​The Children and Education Minister has announced a relaxation of some Covid-19 measures in schools, colleges and nurseries following a dramatic drop in cases this term.

From Wednesday, 13 October, children in education or early years settings won’t have to leave school or nursery if identified as a direct contact. And performances, shows and events will be permitted again, in secondary schools, provided schools and colleges have appropriate measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.  

If case numbers remain low, the Minister intends to allow school performances and rehearsals to commence again in primary schools after half term.

Parents and carers are also being reminded not to send their children to nursery or school if they have any symptoms of Covid-19.

Deputy Scott Wickenden said: “When schools returned last month, I gave an assurance that the measures we had put in place would be reviewed within four weeks, with an aim to further relax restrictions and move closer to normality, if case numbers allowed.

“I am pleased to announce that case numbers for children, within schools and nurseries, have remained low over the past four weeks with a daily average in single figures. This is a dramatic drop in case numbers compared to the end of term in July. Where we have seen some evidence of spread within a class or school, prompt reactive measures have been implemented to mitigate this and stop the spread.”

Nearly 15,000 lateral flow tests have been completed by secondary school students and staff since the start of term and these have allowed early identification of over 20 cases, proactively limiting the spread within schools.

Deputy Wickenden added: “The current process causes lost education time for students and disruption for parents and carers and businesses, as parents have to leave work at short notice to collect their children and stay at home with them until a negative PCR result is received.

“The new process, which will come into force from Wednesday, means that children, identified as a direct contact, will not be required to leave school or nursery immediately to take a PCR test unless they are symptomatic.”

Children will be asked to take a PCR test within three days, meaning if their test appointment is during the school or working day parents can contact the helpline to rearrange a more convenient time. Children will be required to commence lateral flow tests at home for 10-days and, providing the test is negative, they can continue to attend school and nursery. The LFT kits will be issued at school and nursery.

The 10-day lateral flow tests will also be extended to cover children identified as indirect contacts. They will not be required to take a PCR test. This applies only to primary schools where there is less movement and mixing between year groups.

Deputy Wickenden added: “I am also delighted to announce that school performances, which are an integral part of school life and education, giving children and young people opportunities to participate in activities such as music, dance and drama, can go ahead. This will commence immediately in secondary schools and we are asking all those participating in a school production to sign up to the lateral flow test screening programme and adhere to new guidance. I will continue to monitor case numbers in primary schools and should these carry on remaining low it is my intention to enable school performances and rehearsals to commence again in primary schools after half term.”

If a child or a member of staff has symptoms they should not attend school, nursery or college. 

Lateral Flow Test Step-by-Step Guides




How to Take a Lateral Flow Test – for students

Lateral Flow Test - YouTube

Further guidance

Guidance for education and childcare: coronavirus (COVID-19) (

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