A safe return to education

As we welcome children and young people back for the start of the new academic year, we wanted to update you on the COVID-19 measures that are in place to ensure that this is done as safely and effectively as possible

In line with Government guidance, each education setting carries out regular COVID-19 risk assessments and may, as part of their assessment, recommend additional precautionary measures for their specific school or college, such as staggering school start times. Education settings will advise parents and carers directly if there are any further measures they need to be aware of for their child.

Secondary school pupils and college students are encouraged to continue taking Lateral Flow Tests twice each week. At the start of term, schools will carry out two rapid flow tests on the school premises for each person; after this, tests should continue at home.

The measures put in place across all educational settings are in line with UK government guidance. Face coverings are no longer required for pupils and staff in school. However, face coverings are still recommended when using public transport to and from school.

Councillor James Baillie, Cabinet member for Education at Southampton City Council, said: “We know that children and young people are looking forward to returning to school and that education staff are eager to welcome them back. With the autumn term almost upon us, the priority for Southampton City Council and all education settings is to ensure that pupils can safely return to learning in the classroom. Protective measures will remain in place for the autumn term in all education settings including practising good hygiene - regular hand cleansing/catch it, bin it, increased ventilation in classrooms and enhanced cleaning.”

Southampton City Council’s Director of Public Health and Head of Education are working with partners to review our approach in the coming school term. Working collaboratively with headteachers, we will identify any additional support required in the event of a significant number of COVID-19 cases occurring within a school, balancing the need to reduce the risk of transmission with minimising the disruption to children and young people’s education.

We would continue to urge anyone who eligible to have their vaccination. Vaccines are safe, effective and vital in helping to limit the spread of the virus.