Information for all education and childcare settings on new measures in response to new variant
The Department for Education has announced temporary new measures that have been introduced into schools as a precaution to slow down the spread of the new Omicron variant while the government gathers more information. The measures include:
- Staff, visitors and pupils in year seven or above should wear face coverings in communal areas, unless they are exempt. It is not advised that pupils and staff wear face coverings in classrooms.
- Pupils or students (in year seven or above) should continue to wear face coverings on public and dedicated school transport, unless they are exempt.
- All educational and childcare settings should continue to encourage staff and students to test twice weekly using lateral flow device (LFD) tests.
- Secondary school pupils will be tested onsite once schools return in January.
Alongside these specific measures, any suspected or confirmed close contacts of the COVID-19 Omicron variant will be asked to isolate for ten days regardless of vaccination status or age. Individuals will be contacted directly and told to isolate.
Arrangements for COVID-19 testing during the holidays and school return in January
The Department for Education (DfE) would like all secondary schools to prepare to test their pupils once on-site on return in January. DfE understands that this is a significant additional ask, but testing continues to play a vital role and will help reduce transmission after a period of social mixing over the school holidays.
- Tests, PPE and funding to support the workforce will be provided as before. After this test on return, pupils should continue to test in line with government guidelines.
- To enable testing on return in January, schools will need to order sufficient test kits by 30 November. Secondary schools will also need to order asymptomatic testing site (ATS) kits and sufficient home test kits to ensure secondary pupils can continue to test in line with government guidelines.
- Ofsted has confirmed that secondary schools will not be inspected, unless there are urgent concerns, during the first week of schools’ return in January.
- DfE has made available updated guidance on the document sharing platform to support councils and schools to prepare for asymptomatic testing on return in January, including (for secondary schools) an asymptomatic testing site.
Health and Wellbeing
Facts and figures
Who to contact
For specific advice from Islington Council, please email IslingtonCS support
To report a confirmed case of COVID-19 in your school or setting see the information about what to do when there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in your setting
For general coronavirus advice for you, staff or families email the DfE helpline or call 0800 046 8687
For advice for specific situations contact For advice if you are approached by local or national media about COVID-19 email Islington Council's media team or call 020 7527 2307