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Schools relax some covid rules - but Ofsted inspections are delayed again

Schools relax some covid rules - but Ofsted inspections are delayed again

Saturday 15 January 2022

Schools relax some covid rules - but Ofsted inspections are delayed again

Saturday 15 January 2022


A raft of rules and restrictions in States' schools will end on Monday as cases of covid-19 continue to fall.

The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has told schools they can remove classroom bubbles, restart extra-curricular clubs and resume inter-school visits.

But the Committee is asking staff and students to increase their frequency of lateral flow tests. Staff in all schools and students in secondary or further education should take a test daily before attending. Children in primary schools should take a test on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays before going to school. 

Face coverings remain compulsory in communal areas and are now expected in classrooms and other teaching spaces for staff in all schools and for students in secondary and further education.

States' schools reopened to external organisations this weekend. They will be closed to them again in the school week starting on Monday 17 January before reopening to them permanently from next Saturday - 22 January.

The relaxation of some safety measures in schools is announced as the Civil Contingencies Authority considers whether to liberalise rules for testing at the Bailiwick's borders and reduce the isolation requirement for positive cases from seven days to five days.

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Pictured: The latest covid-19 testing figures, which were released by the States ahead of the weekend. 

“I would like to thank all those involved in the delivery of education – staff, students, parents and carers – for helping us with the package of measures we put in place for the new term,” said Director of Education, Nick Hynes.

“They were designed to get us through the first couple of weeks of term and the current signs are positive, which is why we’ve taken the decision to try and move back to what we hope and think will feel like a more normal educational experience.

“Removing the classroom bubbles is key to that, but as ever we need to ensure that appropriate measures are in place, which is why we’re enhancing the current position around face coverings in class within a secondary or post-16 environment and asking everyone to support an enhanced lateral flow testing regime.

“The start of term has been successful in terms of our core priority of minimising disruption to young people’s education, but we’re happy that the positive signs seen across the community with case numbers falling mean these relaxations can come into effect on Monday.”

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Pictured: Nick Hynes, Director of Education, said that relaxing some covid rules would help schoolchildren return to a more normal experience. 

Stricter safety measures were introduced when schools returned from Christmas holidays as the Bailiwick faced a surge in cases of the omicron variant of covid-19.

Jo Morgan, a parent of two children, is running a petition entitled "remove covid special measures in Guernsey schools long term". 

She welcomed the relaxation of some rules.

“Our children need to be free to relax and be children without social distancing and class bubbles at school,” she said.

“The minor impact this has on case numbers is nothing compared to the major impact it could have on their current and future mental health and anxiety levels. Let children be free.”

She hopes the rules and restrictions in schools will soon be relaxed further and not reintroduced if covid-19 case numbers start to increase again in the future. 

Meanwhile, the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture is also announcing another delay to inspections of schools. Covid-19 has caused the Committee to postpone Ofsted inspections several times already. The Committee now says they will not take place until after the February half term. 

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