Schools

Scottish Children Left to Learn in the Cold as Windows Must Be Kept Open to Stop Covid

The Scottish Government requires all schools to leave windows open in an attempt to stop the transmission of Covid. This has led to teachers and pupils sitting in freezing classrooms and needing to wear winter coats to stay warm, with opposition MSPs demanding that the Government install indoor ventilation as an alternative. The Times has the story.

Children are being forced to wear overcoats and blankets in bitterly cold classrooms because of a Government edict to keep windows open to limit the transmission of Covid.

One teacher said that temperatures plummeted to 11C, potentially putting children at risk of asthma attacks and other conditions linked to the cold.

The Scottish Government advises schools to strike a balance between ventilating classrooms to clear the air of the Covid while keeping room temperature above 17C.

Nuzhat Uthmani, a Teacher at Lorne Street Primary School in Glasgow and a member of the Educational Institute of Scotland teaching union, said: “I had my jacket on after lunchtime for the whole afternoon, along with my 30 pupils. We were so cold.”

Kerry Fraser, an English Teacher at Perth High School, said her pupils had complained of the cold. She added: “I checked the CO2 monitor and it was 11.2 degrees. I had to close all the windows and watch the monitor go red. I’ve been wearing a blanket in class.”

Opposition MSPs said the situation was unacceptable and urged ministers to install indoor ventilation in schools.

Michael Marra, the Scottish Labour Education Spokesman, said: “The SNP and the Greens rejected our proposals for air filters for every classroom.

“Eighteen months into this pandemic, and ‘open a window’ is the best the SNP have to keep schools safe. It is insulting and unsustainable.”

Oliver Mundell, Scottish Conservative education spokesman, said: “We are only at the start of winter, and temperatures will drop. The SNP need to provide more support, so teachers and pupils are not left bearing the brunt of the freezing months ahead.”

Willie Rennie, the Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesman, said schools need more than CO2 monitors to keep Covid at bay and called for a rollout of air purifiers.

He said: “The new Omicron variant is posing more threats to us, the government has a duty to step up, evolve its position and make sure we are doing the right things for our schools.”

Worth reading in full.

Omicron Variant Will Unleash Chaos in Schools as Hated ‘Bubbles’ Threaten to Return

The omicron variant will lead to “chaos” in schools, MPs have warned, with children set to be forced into self-isolation by the new rules. The Telegraph has more.

In an attempt to prevent the spread of the mutant strain of Covid, close contacts of those who test positive for omicron will have to self-isolate for 10 days, with the Government confirming that this applies to children.

On Sunday night, ministers were warned that the move risks a repeat of the situation during the summer term when thousands of healthy children were told to stay at home.

Steve Baker MP, deputy chairman of the Covid Recovery Group, said the measures “will cause chaos including collateral harms like damage to children’s education”, adding: “The Government needs to explain when all of this will be brought to an end.”

Parents have called for children to be exempt from the new self-isolation rules.

Molly Kingsley, co-founder of parent campaign group UsForThem, said: “We learnt from summer that forcing healthy children to isolate was an unmitigated disaster and it is unforgivable to do that again.

“If they don’t exempt children it will cause chaos in the classrooms. Asking healthy children to quarantine is not a harm-free measure, it is harmful to children who are not at serious risk from the illness. At this point in the pandemic it is shameful for the Government not to have an exemption for children.”

Earlier this year, the Telegraph launched a campaign calling for an end to disruption in schools and for children to be put at the heart of policy making.

In a further blow to the end of term, the UK’s biggest teaching union was arguing on Sunday night for a return of the ‘bubble’ system and for all in-person nativity plays and other Christmas activities to be axed, as the Government confirmed facemasks would have to be worn in secondary school corridors from Monday.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Nadhim Zahawi joined hundreds of teachers last night at the Teaching Awards, an annual jamboree for the teaching profession in London. There wasn’t a face mask in sight.

American Schools Forcing Students to Eat Outside in the Cold Due to Fear of Covid

In New York state, primary school children have been forced to eat their lunch outside despite plummeting temperatures, while students in California are following the same protocol and have endured rainy weather. School districts that are introducing these rules are doing so to help prevent the spread of Covid on the premises. The Mail has the story.

Elementary schools from New York to California are forcing students to eat outdoors in an effort to protect them from Covid, despite plummeting temperatures in the Empire State and rainy weather on the west coast.

And now, parents are lashing out against the school districts that are imposing those social distancing rules.

In New York City, elementary school students were forced to eat their lunches in cold weather on Wednesday.

“It’s getting a little ridiculous at this point,” a mum at MS 104 in Manhattan told the New York Post.

“They’ve eaten outdoors every day this week. It’s cold.”

In Brooklyn, another mum of a student at a Park Slope elementary school said her child began complaining about eating in the ever-dropping temperatures, having done so since the beginning of the school year back in late August.

“We’ve heard no plans to bring them inside anytime soon,” she told the New York Post.

“In fact, they are still asking for parents to give the school their Fresh Direct bags to create seating pads. It doesn’t sound like they’re going in.”

In New York, the Department of Education has allowed principals to come up with their own lunch plans for this school year.

While not every school in the city is forcing students to eat outdoors, every school’s lunch plan must comply with social distancing rules, meaning more students are taking their meals outside.

Kids in balmier California are also being made to eat outside. And while there’s less chance of freezing weather, those youngsters must contend with soggy lunches as they’ll be forced to eat outside if it rains. 

“My kid has his rain gear, he has his rain jacket,” said Tristan Leong, a parent of two kids in the Davis, California school district.

“Everyone kinda scratched their heads and said wait a minute, there’s no cover for them,” Leong said, according to ABC10.  

Leong brought the issue up to school board members Thursday night after receiving an email last Monday from his child’s principal, saying that students must eat outside due to Covid restrictions, while adding that they should have rain coats, warm jackets and even a change of clothes too when going to school. 

“It’s totally just common sense, it shouldn’t be political at all, this is not a right or left issue, this is just let kids eat lunch normally,” Leong said. 

The Davis Joint Unified School District refused to comment on the matter on camera, according to ABC10, however the news outlet did receiving a statement that was sent out to families district-wide.

“In consultation with the Yolo County Public Health Officer, Dr. Sisson, we believe the health risk to students is greater eating indoors unmasked than eating outdoors in inclement weather, under a covered area for a short period of time.”

Worth reading in full.

12 to 15 Year-Olds to Be Vaccinated at More than 800 Schools from Tomorrow

From tomorrow, health teams will visit more than 800 schools to offer the vaccine to children aged between 12 and 15 year-olds. Health Secretary Sajid Javid commented that this vaccination drive is necessary to keep the classroom open by helping prevent Covid outbreaks in schools. BBC News has the story.

More than 600,000 children have been vaccinated since the rollout was extended last month, NHS England said.

Some 163,000 received a jab in the last week after the national booking system was opened up those eligible under 16 years-old.

Last month, the UK’s Chief Medical Officers recommended that children aged between 12 to 15 years-old be offered one dose of a Covid vaccine.

The NHS began the rollout in England on September 20th.

Efforts to vaccinate pupils as many return to the classroom from the half-term break comes as cases in England remain high.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The vaccines are safe and will help keep children in the classroom – I encourage everyone to come forward for their jab to protect themselves and the people around them.”

Children can alternatively make an appointment via the national booking system to visit a vaccination centre.

Some 140,000 children have made appointments to book their vaccine over the next few weeks, NHS England said.

Professor Adam Finn, a paediatrician who is a member of the UK vaccine expert group the JCVI, said vaccinating teenagers would “minimise the chance of disruption to education, which is really the major harm that the pandemic has done to our children”.

Worth reading in full.

£1.8 Billion Funding Boost for Schools to Address The Disruption Caused by Lockdown

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the education system is to receive an extra £1.8 billion in funding to resolve the disruption caused by repeated lockdowns and in-person teaching cancellations due to students or staff receiving a positive Covid test. Approximately £1 billion will be reserved for disadvantaged primary and secondary school children, with the money largely being allocated towards extra-curricular activities and extra tuition for pupils who require it. The Telegraph has the story.

“The Chancellor has shown that we will put money behind enhancing the recovery we know is already under way for young people, building on the real impact of the steps we’ve taken so far, whether that’s tutoring, world-class teacher training or summer schools”.

The majority of the new catch-up cash – £1 billion – will be earmarked for disadvantaged primary and secondary school children aged under 16.

Schools will be allowed to decide how to spend the money but they will be encouraged to use it for evidence-based interventions such as small-group tuition and extra-curricular activities like sports, drama and art.

Meanwhile, the remaining £800 million will allow sixth form students, aged 16 to 19, to have an extra 40 hours a week of lessons over the academic year, which is equivalent to one additional hour a week for each school or college.

The amount of money set aside to fund pupils’ catch-up has been a source of tension in Whitehall. Earlier this year, the Government’s own catch-up tsar quit after warning that the amount of funding did “not come close to meeting the scale of the challenge”.

Sir Kevan Collins’ resignation in June came less than 24 hours after Gavin Williamson, then Education Secretary, announced a new £1.4 billion cash injection for pupil tuition and teacher training. Sir Kevan had advised ministers that Government funds of £15 billion over three years were necessary to reverse the damage done by Covid to pupils’ education.

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, accused Sunak of coming up with a catch-up plan “on the cheap”.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that while the funds were a “step in the right direction” they were “nowhere near what is needed”.

Mr Sunak told the Commons on Wednesday that an extra £4.7 billion of core funding will be provided to schools in 2024-25 and £153 million will be spent on early years education to “address the impact of the pandemic on the youngest children”. He also said that more than £200 million will be made available for holiday activities and food programmes.

Worth reading in full.

More than a Million School Children in England Alone Face Heightened Covid Restrictions

19 months on from the beginning of the pandemic and schools in England are still far from normal. Some have switched to remote learning ahead of the October half-term due to concerns about increasing ‘cases’ and now, 17 local authorities are insisting that stricter measures should be (re)introduced, affecting 1,098,349 pupils at 3,250 schools. The Telegraph has the story.

Councils across the country have reintroduced face masks, bubbles and staggered break times and stepped up self-isolation rules for youngsters. …

Headteachers have been told by ministers that many of the restrictions in place in the last academic year are no longer necessary. However, as cases rise in schools, local public health teams are increasingly encouraging schools to ramp up their measures. …

Nine Maidens Academy, in Cornwall, moved to remote learning at the start of the week, while Admiral Lord Nelson School in Portsmouth closed its doors on Thursday owing to a “rapid” rise in cases.

A dozen councils are advising secondary pupils in their area to wear masks in communal areas at school, and several have introduced more stringent self-isolation rules for children.

This week, Walsall Council advised primary schools to reintroduce bubbles and staggered lunch breaks, and moved all ‘non-essential’ events online. Windsor Council has also told schools to avoid mixing classes or year groups and to cancel assemblies.

Union leaders have repeatedly called for more restrictions in schools, with Kevin Courtney, the Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, claiming the Government’s failure to introduce stricter rules such as face masks is “irresponsible”.

The National Association of Headteachers has urged ministers to bring back rules that would see healthy children kept at home if a sibling tests positive.

But ministers have been warned that parents are “despairing” and their patience with the Government has “worn out”.

Molly Kingsley, a Co-Founder of the parent campaign group UsForThem, said: “Children have been disproportionately burdened by these pandemic restrictions for too long. Now adults are back to normal and the Government ought to be worried about the detrimental impact this is having on children. Parents are really despairing about this.”

Government guidelines say children should only self-isolate if they are showing symptoms or have a positive PCR test result. But councils including Calderdale, Cheshire East and Suffolk have brought back self-isolation rules for children if a sibling or other member of their household has tested positive.

Meanwhile, other councils say children need to self-isolate for three to five days if a family member has Covid, then take a PCR test and only return to school if it is negative. 

Worth reading in full.

Have Continuing Covid Restrictions in Schools Left Children Feeling Unfurnished, Permanently Waiting for the Upholsterer?

by Dr. Sinéad Murphy

Students spilling out of one of the large secondary schools in Newcastle are all wearing masks again. Evidently, that school at least has revived its requirement for masking, on account of rising ‘case’ numbers among teenagers in the city.

And worse: the BBC reported that on September 30th as many as 2.5% of those enrolled at English state schools were exiled from school altogether for reasons to do with Covid.

The ease with which schools are reverting to covering children’s faces and excluding those who ‘test positive for Covid’ (an entirely unscientific description) makes one wonder whether there is an affinity between our institutions of education and the masking and distancing of the Covid era.

Covid is not responsible for everything that it has exacerbated. Measures taken by schools against it have certainly diminished the personal and palpable content of children’s lives – people in masks might as well be anyone, and nothing on a screen offers much of sensory stimulation. But is neglect of the personal and palpable in fact a general principle of our schools? Is this what explains their complacent revival of masked and remote learning?

* * *

After one-and-a-half years of almost no school at all, our little boy with autism is now attending for three days in the week. We have two reasons for his reduced take-up.

First, the support teacher with whom Joseph has a good relationship, who knows him well and can communicate with him and cares about him, works at the school for three days every week, the same three days on which we are choosing to send him in.

Second, Joseph can only really learn from what is in the world, to be touched and smelt and tasted and heard and seen; the understanding that he gains during the two days in the week on which he accompanies me to the supermarket and the swimming pool, and makes shopping lists and kneads bread and goes to the door to pick up the mail, is not achieved by the most inventive of institutional strategies.

But in the meeting at Joseph’s school at which the new arrangement for his attendance was discussed, it was evident that the real justifications for it were not admissible.

Schools cannot allow that one teacher might be more appropriate than another – the ‘role’ is all, and anyone should be able to play it. And schools cannot accept that there is a possibility for involvement in the world that none of their representations of it and none of their simulations of it can ever hope to match for enlivenment of body and mind.

Last year, during the few weeks that Joseph could be at school, we kept him at home on days when his support teacher was unable to be there. It was made clear at the meeting that this personal arrangement would no longer be encouraged, that a new appointment was about to be made of a teacher trained in the support of children with special needs who would shadow Joseph’s teacher and be ready to step in for her in the event of absence.

And when I attempted to explain how quickly and well Joseph learns from moving about with purpose in the world, I was asked whether it would be possible for me to take Joseph to a museum or a gallery during our home-schooling days, as that would provide excellent documentary evidence that ‘off-site’ learning really was taking place.

So little do our schools place any value on the personal that a total stranger, with no understanding of Joseph’s idiosyncrasies and with no care for him at all, is judged as the equivalent of a woman who has known and liked him for three years.

And so little do our schools place any value on the palpable that the best substitute that they can find for themselves is another institution in which the experiences available are plucked from life and suspended in space and time for contemplation at a distance.

Small wonder that the masks are taken up so very easily when teaching and learning are not supposed to be personal anyway, and small wonder that everything switches to remote so very smoothly when the museum and the gallery are what count as the optimal ‘off-site’ learning environment.

* * *

But children with autism are a special case, we might think; their requirement for personal attention and palpable experience is part of their specific disability.

Is this true? Or is the intolerance of anonymity and of abstraction that defines autism in fact manifest in many who manage to pass muster at school and elsewhere?

Almost pass muster, at any rate. The NHS website includes descriptions of two conditions that are reported to be on the rise among young people in the U.K.: ‘depersonalisation’ and ‘derealisation’, which are disorders comprised of just that craving for the personal and the palpable that characterises those with a diagnosis of autism.

‘Depersonalisation’ and ‘derealisation’ are judged as ‘mental health’ issues, often subject to pharmaceutical treatments. But are they really ‘mental health’ issues, or are they entirely human responses of anxiety and disaffection in the face of ever-increasing anonymity and abstraction?

If they are such human responses, then schools’ active disregard for the personal and palpable is contributing significantly to their concerning increase, which increase must surely be partly responsible for the growing number of children being referred for diagnoses of autism.

The question arises, then, as to whether our schools are at least contributing to driving our children onto the ‘spectrum’?

It is a drastic allegation. But then, these are drastic times. And our children are coping with a drastic diminution of what may reasonably be regarded as the fundamentals of human life: the personal and the palpable, other people and the world.

* * *

It is an established philosophical theme: that human beings are irreducibly situated; that there is no baseline human life which is then overlain with circumstantial content; that human life is circumstanced all the way down.

Martin Heidegger summarized this view by defining human being as “Dasein” and “Mitsein” – being-there and being-with. What makes human life human, for Heidegger, is the dual fact of that life being always in a world with which our bodies are woven and always with others with whom our understanding is given and built up through interaction.

“Dasein” and “Mitsein” are abstract terms, as are ‘being-there’ and ‘being-with’. But what Heidegger intended to communicate with them was not so much that human life is in a world with others, but that our lives are in this world with these others. The claim is an existential one and not merely philosophical. Our human lives are personal, Heidegger meant. And our human world is palpable.

If Heidegger was right, then any erosion of the personal and the palpable is an erosion, not of the variety of life nor of the joy of life but of the humanness of life. For, to be human is to be there in a world that can be touched and tasted; and to be human is to be with people we know and understand and love.

Those who are not appalled at schools’ masking and distancing of children may assume that we can be with masked others and there in a remote world. Against this assumption, we can only appeal that it is less isolating even to be alone than it is to be surrounded by a sea of masked faces, and less awful even to be in a strange place than it is to be screened off and at a distance.

In favour of this appeal, we can point to the rise in diagnoses of ‘depersonalisation’ and ‘derealisation’ in our young people, together with the rise in their medication – prescriptions for anti-depressant medicines for those under 17 hit an all-time high during 2020, up 40% from five years before.

* * *

When Dickens’s Paul Dombey – pale and slight and destined to an early grave – first arrives at the boarding school to which his misguided father has sent him, he is left waiting in the study for someone to show him to his quarters. Weary and forlorn, with an aching void in his little heart, Paul is described as feeling as if he had taken life unfurnished and the upholsterer were never coming.

It is an affecting scene, of abandonment to a world without familiar sights and sounds and smells, peopled with strangers whose faces are not known.

I think that children with autism often feel like little Paul (who, as it happens, does not socialise normally with other children and is described by other characters as ‘old fashioned’). They feel as if life is bereft of what is really meaningful: of daily routines that are not to be departed from and that are entered into by all around; of familiar enduring objects; and of the faces of those whom they understand and who understand them. It is why they are drawn to small corners, why they clamber to sit behind you on your chair so as to be cushioned tightly between a warm person and a supporting world – one of Joseph’s very first words was ‘cozy’.

The responsibility of those of us who care for children with autism is to try to make them more cozy: to gather around them as much of meaning as we can; to furnish them with personal and palpable content; to establish routines and interact with objects and befriend people so as to thicken their being-there and being-with – to be the upholsterers of their lives.

But all children need what children with autism demand. All children feel ‘depersonalised’ when there are not people around them who really care, and all children feel ‘derealised’ when the world does not stimulate their senses. All children wish that the upholsterer would come.

Instead, what are we doing? We are doing the very opposite, stripping our children’s lives of what scanty furnishings remain to them. What people they have around, we are masking. What world there is left to touch and taste and smell, we are screening off. We are turning their young hearts into aching voids, with all outside so cold, and bare, and strange.

There is a medical experiment currently unfolding in schools, on account of which we ought to feel grave concern.

But there is an existential experiment unfolding there too, an experiment in removing the human content from the youngest human lives, as if they had taken childhood unfurnished and have no chance of cozy at all.

Dr. Sinead Murphy is an Associate Researcher in Philosophy at Newcastle University.

Councils Running “Vaccination Webinars” in Effort to Get Consent from Parents to Jab Their Children

Amid reports of a shaky start to the roll-out of vaccines for healthy teenagers – which could now last well into the Christmas period – councils and local health officials have started giving “vaccination webinars” which are intended to persuade parents to give their consent for the ‘jabbing’ of their children. The Guardian has the story.

Headteachers have called for more resources to speed up the scheme as it becomes clear that the Government’s target for the programme to be completed by half-term will be missed.

Public health teams in Stockport and Oldham have advised schools that Covid vaccinations sessions will run until mid-to-late November. Schools elsewhere, including in north London, Watford and Staffordshire, have been told that they will not be visited by vaccination teams until next month. Other headteachers are still waiting to be given a date. …

Geoff Baron, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “There is increasing frustration among school leaders about delays to the rollout of Covid vaccinations for 12-15 year-olds. We are at a loss to understand why the Government has not placed more focus on ensuring this happens as quickly as possible.

“The main issues appear to be where healthcare teams don’t have enough staff on hand to vaccinate so many students at once, and where demand for the vaccine has outstripped supply.”

Councils and local health officials are meanwhile running “vaccination webinars” to persuade reluctant parents to give consent for their children to be jabbed in school. Official take-up rates have yet to be released, but health officials have expressed concern that if they follow the pattern of adults, children in disadvantaged areas will be less likely to be immunised and therefore more likely to have their schooling disrupted.

Parents across the country, including the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Haringey, Greenwich and Merton, and in Leicestershire, are being invited to webinars to put concerns to clinicians and vaccine professionals. At a session last week by Barnet council attended by about 100 parents, health officials were quizzed about whether children who have already had Covid and have natural immunity should still be jabbed and why the U.K. has embarked on vaccinations for children when other countries have not. Myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle, and possible changes to girls’ menstruation cycles were also discussed. Some families raised fears that their refusal to give consent would not be respected.

Health officials reassured families that only pupils with “explicit parental consent” would receive the jab on school vaccination days. They said “processes” were currently being devised for administering the jab to children who want it but do not have parental consent and are assessed as capable of understanding the decision-making process and health implications – known as the “Gillick competence”.

Worth reading in full.

Local Councils Still Encouraging Schools to Ramp Up Restrictions

Many local councils are still under the impression that it is not safe for schools to return to normal and are pushing for the return of face masks (which Nadhim Zahawi hasn’t ruled out) and other measures to ‘combat Covid’. If they succed, this will “make a mockery of the Education Secretary’s plans to keep children in the classroom”, says the campaign group UsForThem. The Telegraph has the story.

Local councils have been accused by parents of employing “militant Lefty” health chiefs who are advising schools to ramp up Covid measures to control the spread of the virus in schools.

Headteachers have been told by ministers that many of the restrictions which were in place last academic year are no longer necessary. However, as cases rise in schools, public health teams have been called in to advise that measures are stepped up.

Devon County Council has said it is now “encouraging” all secondary school pupils to wear face masks in communal areas, while City of Wolverhampton Council is also asking students to do so. 

Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health has told children to self-isolate if one of their siblings tests positive for the virus. They say pupils should get a PCR test after three to five days and only return to school if they get a negative result.

This contradicts national guidance, which says pupils should be off school only if they test positive for Covid-19 or are showing symptoms.

Meanwhile, Staffordshire County Council has given teachers a list of “recommended controls” that can be used to prevent Covid outbreaks, which includes bringing back bubbles to limit contact between pupils as well as staggered lunch and break times. The council said these were measures that schools “may potentially want to consider on a case-by-case basis”.

Haringey Council in London said “additional temporary preventative measures (such as bubbles)” were being put in place in schools with rising cases. And Peterborough City Council wrote to parents this week to remind them that headteachers have the right to “refuse access to school to protect other pupils and staff from possible infection with Covid” if they believe a pupil has symptoms.

Wigan Council’s Director of Public Health has introduced a “suite of measures” after a rise in cases at a local school, including face masks in the classroom and asking siblings of children who test positive to isolate.

Ministers have been urged to “rein in” local public health directors and ensure the children’s education is prioritised.

Molly Kingsley, Co-Founder of the parent campaign group UsForThem, said: “Public health teams appear to be too quick to impose disproportionate restrictions on children’s education and lives again. The Department for Education needs to crack down on councils and schools who are overreaching.

“It is really depressing that we are barely one month into term and we are already seeing these restrictions creep back into schools. This will probably get worse and worse and will make a mockery of the Education Secretary’s plans to keep children in the classroom”.

Worth reading in full.

Education Secretary Reveals that ‘Plan B’ for Schools Includes Mask Mandates

Schools will not reintroduce the policy of ‘bubbles’ to protect pupils against coronavirus, Nadhim Zahawi says, but he hasn’t ruled out a return of face masks. The Telegraph has more.

He said he had contingency plans to keep schools open, but told Sky News: “I don’t want to return to bubbles because actually, you saw the fall off in attendance which really does harm mental wellbeing, mental health of children.”

Mr Zahawi did not, however, rule out the return of the wearing of masks in the classroom in England.

He said: “We’ve got a contingency plan, as you would expect me to do… it contains lots of contingencies, including masks, absolutely.”

The bubble system, which led to whole year groups being sent home to self-isolate for 10 days because one of their classmates tested positive, was scrapped by the Government after more than one million pupils were kept off school in July.

The controversial approach was stopped on July 19th, as Boris Johnson announced that the “obvious way forward” was testing pupils rather than sending large numbers of children home to self-isolate. …

The mandatory wearing of face coverings in schools and colleges was scrapped in May, but Government guidance says that directors of public health could advise schools to reintroduce them if cases spike.

Worth reading in full.