Schools confirmed to reopen from 8 March

From 8 March all children and students will return to face to face education in schools and colleges, Boris Johnson has announced as part of his roadmap for exiting lockdown.

The government says that by this point, everyone in the top four vaccine priority cohortswill have received the first dose of their vaccine and developed the necessary protection from it.

The DfE has said that primary school staff will continue to take 2 rapid COVID-19 tests each week at home and all secondary school and college students will take three COVID-19 tests as they return to the classroom from the 8 March at existing school testing facilities. Schools and colleges will have discretion on how to test students over that week to enable their return to the classroom. After the initial programme of three tests in school or college, students will be provided with 2 rapid tests to use each week at home. Secondary school and college staff will also be provided with 2 tests to use each week at home.

Staff and students in secondary schools and colleges are advised to wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained and as a temporary extra measure.

What's more, university students on practical courses who need to access specialist facilities and equipment can return to in-person teaching and learning from Monday 8 March. Twice weekly testing will continue to be available for all on campus.

Also from 8 March wraparound childcare and other supervised children’s activities can resume where they enable parents to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group.

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Councils will do all they can to turn this roadmap into a reality by building on successful work with the NHS on the vaccination roll-out. Widespread community testing in schools, businesses, care homes and other places - coordinated by councils – will also be absolutely fundamental in bringing down infection rates and releasing restrictions on our lives and economy.

“Councils want all children to return to school to continue with their education and will be working closely with the Government, education leaders and schools to make sure the return on March 8 is a success. Further clarity is needed on how all children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can recover the education that they have missed out on, as well as on funding and resources for any educational “catch-up” programme."

Read more