We have this afternoon received the guidance for schools with regard to the national lockdown which begins in a few hours’ time. This is obviously ridiculously late notice, but the guidance reads “We would expect schools to ensure any changes required in light of national restrictions are in place as soon as practically possible, and by Monday 9 November at the latest”.
The key points are as follows.
- Face coverings will be mandatory in communal areas of secondary schools and colleges, and moving around the premises. They will still not be recommended in classrooms. This means basically that students, staff and visitors will need to keep masks on at all times except lessons and when eating/drinking. This won’t apply to people who are medically exempt, of course.
- Students will be expected and encouraged to wear masks tomorrow and Friday.
- Face coverings will be mandatory for pupils in Year 7 and over on dedicated school transport. This is already in place in Devon.
- Schools will not be put into a rota system automatically. It could happen for limited times if there were severe staff shortages.
Clinically extremely vulnerable staff and pupils
- Both staff and pupils who have been identified by their doctor as still considered clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), will be advised not to come into school or college. The government guidance on shielding and CEV people has been updated to reflect this position. Schools will be expected to provide remote learning for any students in this category.
- Students and staff who live with people who are CEV, but are not CEV themselves, are still expected to come into school or college.
Curricular and extra-curricular activities
- PE, sport, music, dance and drama lessons can continue in line with the current guidance – during school time.
- Schools must only provide team sports listed in the guidance (the same as now, in fact). Competition between different schools or colleges should not take place.
- There are to be no after-school clubs. We are checking out homework clubs and study activities, and will advise when we know anything.
- The current series of exam resits (Autumn Exams) will continue.
- The guidance requires schools to teach Sixth Form lessons on site unless there has been public health advice to the contrary.
What we still don’t know
- Whether fieldwork day trips or Duke of Edinburgh activities are permitted
- Any guidance as to which visitors are or are not permitted on site
The Full Guidance
As ever, we will do our utmost to keep you as fully informed as possible.