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Children and Schools - Transition to the new normal

COVID-19 School FAQs

The following frequently asked questions have been developed to answer the majority of your queries at this time.

If you have a query about your child’s school please contact the school directly

What are the plans for the operation of schools in September?

What do I do if my child tests positive during the summer holidays?

What is lateral flow testing and who is eligible for it?

How long do we need to self isolate for?

What are the plans for the operation of schools in September?

Welsh Government continue to monitor COVID case rates across Wales, and how they relate to hospital admissions. The success of the vaccine programme gives cause to be optimistic about the future, and as restrictions are eased across wider society, educational settings should follow a similar pattern.

Three main changes are being proposed to bring some normality back to education ahead of the new autumn term. They are:

  • Face coverings will no longer be routinely recommended in classrooms in secondary schools; but they will be encouraged in communal areas and will continue to be required on school transport
  • Contact groups will no longer be required and the Test Trace and Protect process will be used to identify close contacts of learners who have tested positive
  • Normal school session times will resume

New advice has been published on the key changes to schools from September along with updated Operational Guidance which provides further detail.

Welsh Government will also publish The Local COVID-19 Infection Control Decision Framework at the start of the autumn term so that schools have time to embed new systems during the weeks that follow. The framework will enable schools to tailor some of the interventions to reflect the level of risk identified locally, supported by public health officials and local authorities to ensure measures are appropriate to their circumstances.

We have already met with Headteachers to discuss these changes and will be working closely with our school leaders to make these changes and to continue to ensure the safety of our learners and staff.

It is essential that we all continue to follow the guidance in relation to self-isolation and wash our hands frequently to reduce the potential of transmission in our schools.

What do I do if my child tests positive during the summer holidays?

It is important that you inform us if your child has a positive test over the holidays, please report this to us by emailing providing your child’s name, year group and school. 

What is lateral flow testing and who is eligible for it?

All school staff and secondary school pupils are being offered lateral flow testing that they can carry out at home twice a week.

The aim is to quickly identify those who are unknowingly carrying the virus so that they can self-isolate. Many people with COVID-19 have mild, or even no symptoms, but can still spread the virus. With regular self-testing we can slow the spread and help protect the most vulnerable in our families and communities. 

Self-testing for COVID-19 is simple, quick and can be carried out at home without the need to attend a test centre or post samples to a lab for analysis. Lateral flow devices (LFDs) are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes.

Testing is voluntary, but individuals are strongly encouraged to take up the offer to further reduce the risk of transmission in those that do not show any symptoms.

It is important to remember that the purpose of the testing is to complement the safety measures that have already been put in place in schools to allow face-to-face learning, such as social distancing and wearing face coverings. Furthermore, a negative LFD result should not be read as a means to relax or ignore social distancing or other measures to help reduce transmission – lateral flow testing is an additional tool that contributes to reducing risk.

The testing kits can be collected from your school, who will also provide you with further information on when and how to carry out the tests and how to record the results, and what you should do if you test positive.

Further information on lateral flow testing in schools including some useful FAQs can be found on: Welsh Government

How long do we need to self isolate for?

It is essential that anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms, or who shares a household with someone who has symptoms, must self-isolate, even if your symptoms are mild. To protect others, you must not attend school, nursery, other childcare settings, work, or go to or to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started. They can return to school or work after 10 days if they are well enough to do so.

Anyone in the household who does not have symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when the first person in the home started having symptoms.

If a parent thinks their child has symptoms BUT chooses not to put them through a test all household members must remain in self-isolation for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.

If you receive a positive test result, you will be contacted by the Test, Trace, Protect Team who will advise you further.

If the test is negative, self-isolation can end for everyone, children may return to school and parents can return to work if they are well enough to do so and as long as nobody else in the household has developed symptoms.

Parents and carers on low incomes with children who are self-isolating are now eligible for a £500 support payment. 

Related links

Local COVID-19 Infection Control Decision Frameworks for schools and colleges from autumn 2021

Operational guidance for schools and settings

Welsh Government: Updated FAQs

COVID-19 alert levels  

Public Health Wales: Schools and Covid 19: Information for Parents



ID: 6553, revised 23/09/2021