Ministers set to decide on an overhaul of self-isolation rules as one in 20 children in England missed school due to Covid within the last week

Teaching and life inside schools and educational settings have been greatly disrupted since the beginning of the pandemic. Lockdown brought with it the closing of schools leaving children across the country missing out on months of face-to-face learning. Pupils, their families and school staff are now facing a new challenge as official figures reveal a 66% increase in the number of pupils with confirmed coronavirus infections.

The disruption to children’s education is therefore greatly being felt as last week 400,000 children and young people were out of school for Covid-related reasons. The bulk of these absentees are due to students having to self isolate because of close contact with a confirmed or suspected case. The numbers of absentees are worryingly on the rise; 5% of state school pupils and students in England were absent at the end of last week, more than four times the proportion of those absent just two weeks before.

The disruption caused is getting out of control for schools and pressure is on Ministers to take a good look at the self-isolation rules in place in schools and examine more effective ways of controlling the spread.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb reiterates the necessity for students and families to do a home test twice a week to help reduce the spread of COVID19 in schools. He understands the disruption caused by the self-isolation rules and states that they are conducting trials of daily contact testing as a possible alternative to self-isolation.  

Following an examination of the results of these trials, an official statement on new COVID19 measures is expected to be made before the next and final stage of the government’s lifting of lockdown restrictions, which is scheduled for July 19th.

In response to the calls for change in how schools manage Covid, Downing Street has said it intends to publish a review into whether to replace the current self-isolation rules in schools with regular testing at the same time as a promised review of social distancing measures.

The prime minister's official spokesman told reporters that their intention is to publish this review together and provide much-needed certainty to the public.

What are your thoughts? Do you think changes need to be made to the current COVID19 measures in place in schools? Let us know below. 

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