SCHOOL bubbles will be scrapped from August 16 following an outcry from teachers and MPs, Gavin Williamson has announced.
The Education Secretary told the House of Commons that the disruptive measures would be coming to an end next month in a boost for pupils.
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School bubbles will be scrapped from August 16 following an outcry from teachers and MPs, Gavin Williamson has announced[/caption]
Under current guidance, children have to self-isolate for 10 days if another pupil in their bubble – which can be an entire year group at secondary school – tests.
The rules have caused severe disruption – with hundreds of children sent home and missing out on education.
Mr Williamson told the Commons: “Keeping children in consistent groups was essential to control the spread of the virus when our population was less vaccinated.
“We recognise that the system of bubbles and isolation is causing disruption to many children’s education.
“That is why we’ll be ending bubbles and transferring contact tracing to the NHS Test and Trace system for early years settings, schools and colleges.”
The Education Sec also announced…
- Schools will no longer need to stagger start and finish times
- Kids will no longer need to wear masks in communal areas
- Children will be contacted by Test and Trace, informed they’ve been in contact with a positive case, and advised to take a PCR test
- Social distancing measures will end in schools
- Fully vaccinated teachers will be able to remain in the classroom, from the autumn term
Mr Williamson added: “Where there are outbreaks schools and colleges may be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and they will also work with local health teams as they currently do now.
“We’re also setting out new rules that mean from the 16th of August children will only need to isolate if they have tested positive for Covid-19.”
In addition to ending bubbles, Mr Williamson said it will “not be necessary to stagger start and finish times” at schools.
But the Education Secretary said “some protective measures” – such as enhanced hygiene and ventilation – will remain in place for the autumn term.
The announcement follows weeks of disruption – with Covid-related absence hitting a record high since all students returned to class in March.
Around 8.5 per cent of state school pupils did not attend class for Covid-19-related reasons on July 1.
This is up from 5.1 per cent on June 24 and 3.3 per cent June 17, according to Department for Education (DfE) statistics.
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These include approximately 561,000 children self-isolating due to a possible contact with a Covid-19 case and 34,000 pupils with a suspected case of coronavirus.
There were also 28,000 children with a confirmed case of Covid-19 who were in quarantine.