From Monday 10 May, updated COVID-19 guidance will come into force for schools, colleges and early years settings. These changes include updates to guidance on masks, school and nursery trips, inductions, and proms.
Mask wearing has been recommended in schools and colleges since November 2020, with guidance tailored to different settings.
From Monday, the updated guidance is as follows:
- Early years: Staff are no longer encouraged to wear mouth or nose coverings.
- Primary school: Staff are no longer required to wear mouth and nose coverings during lessons. They should continue to wear mouth and nose coverings in communal areas.
- Secondary school-aged and further education: Students and staff are no longer required to wear mouth and nose coverings in classrooms and during lessons. Both staff and students should continue to wear mouth and nose coverings in communal areas.
- Bus travel: Children over the age of 11 are still required to wear masks on buses.
Children, young people and members of staff who wish to continue wearing masks in lessons may do so.
All adult visitors to any indoor school setting should still wear a mouth and nose covering.
Despite the easing of guidance on mask-wearing, the guidance on maintaining class/year group bubbles remains in place. Also, guidance on ventilation in schools continues: all space should be well-ventilated using natural ventilation or using ventilation units, to increase air circulation and minimise the risk of COVID-19 droplets being spread.
The guidance on hand and respiratory hygiene also remains in place.
In addition to changes in guidance on mouth and nose coverings, from Monday 10 May, updated guidance means that:
- Nurseries and schools can conduct on-Island trips and residentials for class/year groups
- Settings can hold induction days for new or potential children/students including for new starters to Nurseries, primary schools, secondary schools and 16+ providers
- Events that involve multiple year groups, or more than two schools can take place, subject to a comprehensive risk assessment. This includes school sports days, or Island-wide school sports events
- School ‘proms’ can take place, where they take place off the school premises and subject to prevailing COVID regulations for hospitality settings
Teaching unions, headteachers, and staff in schools, colleges and early years settings have been advised of the changes in guidance, and will work with children and parents to ensure the updated guidance is clear.
Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, said: “The introduction of additional guidance for schools and settings was prudent in light of the risks posed by COVID-19. However, given the low number of cases on Island, we are now able to amend our guidance.
“Our aim has always been to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission by modulating the modes of spread.
“This is why we are continuing to advise that schools and settings continue to focus on ventilation, both in classrooms and communal areas. Maintaining high levels of ventilation will ensure that any airborne particles do not linger there.”
Assistant Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Scott Wickenden, said: “I’m pleased that we’re able to ease the guidance for mask-wearing in classrooms, and I’m sure students and staff will greet this as extremely positive news.
“I’m sure they’ll also be pleased to hear that residential trips, induction days and proms can take place again. While not central to the curriculum, events such as proms are important milestones: they’re part of growing up, moving on, and developing independence and life skills.
“While this is positive news, I’d encourage all staff and students to continue following the basics of public health guidance: maintaining physical distance, keeping up good hand hygiene, and ensuring classes are well-ventilated.”
The latest guidance is available on www.gov.je