Easing restrictions could ‘pose additional risks’ for vulnerable, says HMC

The new ‘Living with Covid’ plan will see an end to weekly Covid tests for staff and students

On Monday Boris Johnson announced the end of all remaining restrictions related to Covid-19 and the introduction of the ‘Living with Covid’ plan.

Staff and students at the majority of education and childcare institutions in England no longer have to test twice a week.

The new plan also means that those with a positive test, and the people they have been in contact with, will no longer be required by-law to isolate after 24 February. The government is still advising those who test positive to self-isolate, although this will not be a requirement. 

Additionally, tomorrow will signify the end of the Test and Trace Scheme.

Yet, the new ‘Living with Covid’ plan and the scrapping of mass testing at schools has been met with some concern.

Dr Simon Hyde, general secretary at the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), expressed his view that although it’s important for students to return to school “and not experience any further interruptions or upheaval”, there are still considerable concerns around the easing of restrictions.

“Removing the legal requirement to self-isolate after a positive test, along with twice-weekly testing for pupils and staff in schools and colleges, comes at a time when all schools are still battling significant numbers of Covid cases. These changes could pose additional risks for children and staff that are clinically vulnerable, or have a family member who is vulnerable,” commented Hyde.

 “Whilst HMC agrees with the objective of getting children back to the classroom as soon as possible, we acknowledge that some will be concerned that these plans could prove damaging. School leaders welcome clarity and our school communities expect it,” he continued.

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