We’re working with schools and child care providers to help answer questions from parents, carers and pupils about the new school year in September. We will continue to update this advice over the coming weeks to comply with government guidance, which can change quickly.
See further information for parents and students:
- making schools safe
- face coverings in schools
- coronavirus testing
- pupil hygiene and hand washing
- cases of coronavirus in schools
- school attendance
- education at home
- transport to school
- school meals
- school equipment
- school uniforms
- support for students
- other useful downloads
See further national resources for parents and students:
- Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing (GOV.UK)
Making schools safe
Schools will continue to have regular cleaning routines, with a particular focus on frequently-used areas.
They will also have to ensure the building is well ventilated and improve fresh air flow in poorly ventilated spaces, or when holding events where visitors such as parents are on site.
Schools no longer have to operate ‘bubble’ systems, but may continue with previous lunch and start/end times in September so check with your child’s school for details.
Face coverings in schools and colleges
Face coverings are no longer advised to pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas.
The government has removed the requirement to wear face coverings in law but “expects and recommends” that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with people you don’t normally meet. This includes public transport and dedicated transport to school or college.
However it is possible that secondary schools may decide to reintroduce face coverings from September, in consultation with our public health team, depending on the circumstances at the time.
Staff and secondary pupils should continue to self-test over the summer.
It is recommended that all secondary pupils take two lateral flow tests, three to five days apart, just before the start of the autumn term in September.
Pupils do not have to take lateral flow tests if they have had a positive ‘PCR test’ result within the last 90 days.
All secondary pupils and staff should then continue to self-test twice a week.
Pupil hygiene and hand washing
Pupils will have to continue to wash their hands thoroughly and regularly while at school, using soap and water or hand sanitiser, and should make sure they follow the ‘catch it, bin it kill it’ advice. All pupils who are eligible for the flu vaccine are encouraged to take up this offer from the NHS in the autumn term.
The NHS have produced guidance about how to wash your hands.
Cases of coronavirus in schools
All schools will continue to have procedures in place for dealing with both potential and confirmed cases of coronavirus within the school. If your child develops symptoms whilst at school, you will be asked to pick them up immediately. They will remain isolated in school and supervised until they are collected. If your child has symptoms before the start of the school day, please do not send them to school.
You should then book a PCR test for them as soon as possible and they should isolate at home. If this test comes back negative the pupil can stop isolating and return to school, if they are well enough to do so. If the PCR test comes back positive, the pupil needs to remain off school and self-isolate for a period of 10 days from the start of symptoms or from taking the PCR test, whichever is earliest.
Children and young people under the age of 18 years and 6 months old are no longer required to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a positive case. Instead, they will be advised to take a PCR test.
From 16 August, children under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a positive case. Instead, they will be advised to take a PCR test.
Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) at gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
The usual rules on attendance apply with full-time attendance compulsory.
If you have particular concerns about your child, or another member of the family, speak to your school.
Education at home
Schools have to make plans to provide education at home where needed for pupils who need to be educated at home, for example, pupils who have tested positive or those who are abroad and facing challenges to return due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Transport to school
We work with transport contractors and schools to ensure school transport is in place for all eligible pupils. The government ‘expects and recommends’ that pupils wear face coverings in enclosed and crowded spaces where they may come into contact with people they don’t normally meet - this includes public transport and dedicated transport to school or college.
See further information about school buses.
Safe walking and cycling routes
There's lots of information available in York about cycle paths and safer ways to get around away from the busier roads.
School kitchens must comply with the guidance for food businesses on coronavirus, which includes enhanced hand washing and cleaning procedures.
Your child can take a packed lunch if you wish, and free school meals will continue to be provided as normal.
Children are only allowed to take in a small number of items such as:
- school bag
- coat and hat
- lunch box
- books and stationery
Check with your school what items will be provided and what your child needs to take with them.
See guidance about help with secondary school uniforms.
If you require assistance with primary school uniform, please contact your school. Many schools offer assistance with uniform costs to families who qualify for the pupil premium, such as school jumpers. Many also sell nearly-new items at reduced prices to raise funds.
Support for students
Support is available for anyone who is particularly worried about their results and next steps.
If you prefer online messaging you can use Kooth.
Kooth is a free, online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform for young people aged 11 to 18. You can use Kooth until you turn 19 years old.
The Kooth website allows young people to gain anonymous access to advice, support and guidance on any issue that is affecting their wellbeing. From friendship or relationship issues, family disagreements or difficult home lives, to concerns around eating, anxiety, stress, depression, self harm or suicidal thoughts.
Their qualified counsellors can give young people the support they need, when they need it. Kooth’s live chat service is available Monday to Friday from midday to 10.00pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 6.00pm to 10.00pm and is accessible through mobile, tablet or desktop, completely free of charge.