School bubbles set to be dropped in lockdown lifting

It comes after education secretary said he wanted to remove remaining restrictions ‘as quickly as possible’

Zoe Tidman
Tuesday 06 July 2021 09:57

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Schoolsbubbles” are set to be scrapped as Covid measures are eased across England from 19 July.

The measure keeps pupils and teachers in groups to minimise mixing and help limit the spread of coronavirus.

Concerns have been raised in recent weeks about the interpretation of rules which have resulted in large groups of pupils being sent home for 10 days if another pupil in their bubble tests positive for Covid-19.

Last week, government data showed school absences linked to Covid had peaked at their highest rate since March.

Gavin Williamson is expected to announce on Tuesday afternoon this will no longer be used in schools from 19 July.

The education secretary is also set to announce early years settings, schools and colleges will no longer have to routinely carry out contact tracing.

It comes after Boris Johnson confirmed plans to get rid of social disancing and mask rules on 19 July.

Last week, Mr Williamson said he wanted to see remaining Covid restrictions in schools - including bubbles - “removed as quickly as possible”.

On Monday, Sajid Javid, the new health secretary, confirmed the government planned to remove bubbles and requirements for schools to do routine contact tracing on 19 July.

“I will have more to say on how we intend to exempt under-18s who are close contacts from the requirement to self-isolate,” he added.

Trials have taken place in schools into the use of daily contact testing as an alternative to self-isolation after the measure was paused earlier this year following advice from Public Health England.

Last week, Mr Williamson said the government planned to take further steps to reduce the number of pupils having to self-isolate and would be looking at the results of this trial.

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