Self-isolation exemptions

You’re not required to self-isolate if you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and any of the following apply:

  • you’re fully vaccinated.
  • you’re below the age of 18 years 6 months
  • you’ve taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you’re not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

Test daily if you're identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19

From Tuesday 14 December 2021, people who are fully vaccinated and identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 (whether Omicron or not) should take an NHS rapid lateral flow test every day for 7 days to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

As now, anyone whose rapid test comes back positive or who develops COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test to verify the result. If the PCR result comes back positive, contacts must self-isolate for 10 days from the day they took the positive rapid test or developed symptoms.

They do not need to continue taking rapid tests during that 10 day isolation period.

Daily rapid testing also applies to the following groups:

  • all children aged 5 to 18 years and 6 months, regardless of their vaccination status
  • people who can prove they are unable to be vaccinated for clinical reasons
  • people taking part, or have taken part, in an approved clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine

Find out more about daily testing on GOV.UK.

In-school symptom-free COVID-19 testing

Secondary school pupils are asked to do rapid COVID-19 tests at home twice a week.

Any pupils who test positive will need to go home to self-isolate.

Primary school pupils will not be part of the plans for mass symptom-free testing.

If your child has COVID-19 symptoms

If your child has one or more of the following, you should make sure your child does not attend school:

  • high temperature
  • new and continuous cough
  • loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

Arrange a free COVID-19 test using the NHS website or by calling 119.

The child should isolate with your household until they have received their test result.

If the test is positive, they should continue to isolate with everyone in your household as directed by government guidance.

If the test is negative, your child should return to school when they are well.

You should tell your school the test result straight away.

Face coverings

Where pupils in year 7 (which would be children who were aged 11 on 31 August 2021) and above are educated, we recommend that face coverings should be worn when moving around the premises and outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas. We also recommend staff and adult visitors do this.

This is a temporary measure.

Pupils in these schools should also wear a face covering when travelling on public transport and dedicated transport to and from school.

We do not advise that pupils and staff wear face coverings in classrooms.

In primary schools, we recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and adults, including visitors, when moving around in corridors and communal areas.

Health advice continues to be that children in primary schools should not be asked to wear face coverings.

Face coverings do not need to be worn when outdoors.

Bus services

For details on school bus services, visit the bus provider’s website.

Pupils in year 7 and above should wear face coverings on public and school transport unless exempt.

In-school catering

All school catering is operational, including for all those pupils eligible for free school meals.

Useful links