The majority of young people will be able to return to schools, college and early years settings on Monday 8th March, as long as the positive strides made since we entered lockdown are maintained.
Secondary school students will be split and return over two days, with Years 7, 8 and 9 returning on Monday while Year 10 and upwards will return on Tuesday 9th March. This will allow younger students in secondary schools to familiarise themselves with the introduction of their new class bubbles, before older students return to school the following day.
All other students can return to educational settings on Monday 8th March.
Schools, colleges and early years providers (pre-schools, nurseries and child-minders) will remain closed to all students who do not meet the strengthened criteria outlined on this page.
The purpose of this is to prepare Public Health services for the roll-out of a new testing system which is being developed to support the reopening of education sites as safely as possible.
In the first island-wide lockdown, education settings remained open to all vulnerable children and the children of all essential and critical workers to allow them to work and not have to worry about childcare. However, given the current situation across the island and the importance of keeping the numbers of children and staff on any education site as low as possible, it is necessary to further filter those eligible to access on-site childcare.
Teams of officers from ESC and HSC have been hard at work to develop a system which will safely allow these targeted groups of vulnerable children and children of some essential workers to benefit from on-site care.
This plan involves a robust testing system, which will see any children or staff tested before entering a setting. They will then be continually tested on a rolling basis going forwards.
The strengthened criteria for qualifying for this childcare means that only children whose parents are both essential workers (unless in a single parent household), AND where all adults in the home need to leave the house to work will be allowed to attend.
Early Years Settings, Special Schools, Primary Schools and Secondary Schools (for pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 primarily) will be initially prioritised in this new programme of testing. The College of FE will continue to offer remote support as required for their learners. Children attending the island’s special schools and who may have complex medical needs will be supported through a bespoke programme of partnership support between HSC and ESC and will be invited into school on an individual basis.
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has published details of how the re-opening of education settings will align with the States' Exit from Lockdown framework. The Education Exit from Lockdown framework can be read in the file below.