Updated guidance on autumn exams published

The government has released updated guidance on how schools must prepare for autumn exams to best protect public health.

It advises schools to have a location where candidates will wait before the exam that can support social distancing between group bubbles.

In addition all candidates must be kept separate from other pupils arriving at school, and there must be a plan to manage candidates leaving the room and site, taking into account different exam finishing times.

The guidance says that there must be two metres between ‘bubbles’ in exam rooms, and for pupils within the same group ‘bubble’, the minimum distance between candidate chairs “must” be 1.25 metres.

It says all other candidates, whether in different group bubbles, private candidates or those returning to school or college to take exams, should be seated 2 metres apart from each other.”

The guidance advises the opening of windows and doors for ventilation.

Schools are advised they must keep contact information of candidates and invigilators for NHS Test and Trace. This is particularly important for any external visitors, such as invigilators and candidates not enrolled at the school, with schools advised to cross reference contact details with a prepared seating plan.

The guidance covers cleaning, especially frequently touched surfaces, including the backs of chairs where candidates pull chairs out to sit.

According to the guidance, candidates and invigilators do not need to wear face coverings – unless they want to but they should wear face coverings in communal areas if the exam centre is in an area of local intervention.

The guidance also states that invigilators minimise contact with others as they are allowed to move between schools and colleges.

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