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Covid guidance for schools following government announcement on 21 February 2022


The government announcement on Monday 21 February has meant several changes for schools when they start back after half-term. DfE guidance has been updated throughout this week with revised operational guidance and contingency framework last issued on 24 February.

In summary:

  • Routine asymptomatic testing is no longer advised in mainstream settings.  Twice weekly routine asymptomatic testing continues to be recommended for SEND settings, alternative provision, and SEND units in mainstream schools.

All settings may be advised by their local public health team to recommend lateral flow device (LFD) tests to manage an outbreak.

  • From 24 February, the Government removed the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test. In addition, the Government will no longer ask fully vaccinated close contacts and those aged under 18 to test daily for 7 days and routine contact tracing will end.
  • Adults and children who test positive on a PCR, or LFD test, will continue to be advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for at least 5 full days and then continue to follow the guidance until they have received 2 negative test results on consecutive days.
  • For staff or children who have any of the main symptoms, the public health advice remains unchanged and is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.  They should order a PCR test and are advised to stay at home while waiting for the result.

Schools should continue to report outbreaks until 1 April but the escalation thresholds have changed. Mainstream settings should seek advice when there is:

  • a higher than previously experienced and/or rapidly increasing number of staff or student absences due to Covid-19
  • evidence of severe disease due to Covid-19 such as hospitalisation of a case
  • a cluster of cases where there are concerns about the health needs of vulnerable staff or students


For special, AP settings or SEND units in mainstream, schools should escalate when 2 students and/or staff have mixed closely, tested positive for Covid-19 within a 10-day period and/or there are concerns for the health needs of the children and/or staff.


The DfE helpline remains available on 0800 0468687; outbreaks should continue be reported using Option 1 and operational support can be accessed using Option 2. From 1 April, schools will no longer be required to report outbreaks but the helpline will remain available for operational support.


Risk assessments and outbreak management plans should continue to be updated and the latest versions are available on Schoolsnet along with revised FAQs and reporting checklist.  We are still awaiting updated UKHSA documents and will upload these as soon as they are available.


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