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Information on COVID-19

All COVID-19 updates will be published on this webpage. You are advised to visit this page daily to ensure you are up-to-date with all the latest coronavirus information.
Thursday 24th February 2022

There is no longer a legal requirement for people with coronavirus (COVID-19) infection to self-isolate, however, if you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result, the public health advice is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

The following advice is for:

  • People with any of the main symptoms of COVID-19

  • People who have received a positive COVID-19 lateral flow device (LFD) or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result

  • People who live in the same household as, or who have had close contact with, someone who has COVID-19

Isolation still remains the same as 17th January 2022 guidance which allows those to end their self-isolation period after 5 full days if they test negative on both day 5 and day 6 and do not have a temperature. Day 1 of self-isolation starts the day after symptoms begin or the day the test was taken.

For school leaders, there are a number of actions you can take to manage COVID-19 in your school within the Schools COVID-19 Operational Guidance.

The changes to the previous guidance are as follows:

  • Update to Tracing close contacts and isolation section to reflect new public health guidance from 24 February

  • Update to When an individual develops COVID-19 symptoms or has a positive test section to reflect new public health guidance from 24 February

You can read further information regarding the changes here

Monday 17th January 2022

The government has announced that from Monday 17th January 2022, people with COVID-19 can end their self-isolation period after 5 full days if they test negative on both day 5 and day 6 and do not have a temperature.  Day 1 of self-isolation starts the day after symptoms begin or the day the test was taken. 

The first test must be taken no earlier than day 5 of the self-isolation period, and the second must be taken the following day. If an individual is positive on day 5, then a negative test is required on day 6 and day 7 to release from isolation.

It is essential that 2 negative lateral flow tests are taken on consecutive days and reported before individuals return to their job or education, if leaving self-isolation earlier than the full 10-day period.

For instance, if an individual is positive on day 5, then a negative test is required on both day 6 and day 7 to release from self-isolation, or positive on day 6, then a negative test is required on days 7 and 8, and so on until the end of day 10.

Those who leave self-isolation on or after day 6 are strongly advised to wear face coverings and limit close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, work from home if they can do so and minimise contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19.

The rules for contacts have not changed. Fully vaccinated individuals who are identified as contacts of someone with COVID-19 should take daily rapid lateral flow tests for 7 days but are not legally required to self-isolate. Unvaccinated contacts are legally required to self-isolate for the full 10-day period.​

Wednesday 1st September 2021

As the pandemic has evolved, the government continues to manage the risk of serious illness from the spread of the virus.  Step 4 marked a new phase in the government’s response to the pandemic, moving away from stringent restrictions on everyone’s day to day lives, towards advising people on how to protect themselves and others, alongside targeted interventions to reduce risk.  As COVID-19 becomes a virus that we learn to live with, there is now an imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education.

Step Teachers will continue to support our client schools and agency workers as they return to school and the health, safety and wellbeing of school staff and children remains our priority.  We will continue to follow government guidance and put any necessary processes in place when required to ensure smooth transition.

We will continue to follow our COVID-19 pre-screening system which we first implemented when schools re-opened in September 2020.  All agency workers are pre-screened before they are placed into any booking.  Our COVID-19 Awareness Training has been updated and now reflects the most recent changes, which all our candidates are asked to complete when registering with us. 

On 27th August 2021, the government published its new operations guidance for schools for the start of the new Academic Year.   Main changes to the new guidance are:

  • Individuals are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 as long as:

    • They are fully vaccinated

    • They are below the age of 18 years and 6 months

    • They have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trail

    • They are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

    • Instead, they will be advised to take a PCR test.

  • All secondary pupils will receive 2 on site LFD test on their return to school and thereafter to continue to test twice a week at home until the end of September, when this will be reviewed by the government.  School staff should also continue to test twice a week at home.

  • Mixing and bubbles are no longer recommended.  This means that as well as enabling flexibility in curriculum deliver, assemblies can resume, and lunch times can revert back to normal.

  • Face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas.

Tuesday 2nd March 2021

On 22nd February 2021, the Government announced that all children and students will return to face-to-face education in schools and colleges from Monday 8th March 2021. 

Once schools reopen, client demand for teachers and support staff should start increasing.  Step Teachers will be here to support our client schools and agency workers in the return to the classroom once again.  The health, safety and wellbeing of school staff and children is our priority.

We will continue to follow the COVID safe pre-screening system we implemented when schools first re-opened in September 2020.  Government advice and guidance has changed along the way as the pandemic has evolved. Some of the major changes to the initial September 2020 guidance has changed as follows:

  • From the 8th March 2020, as a temporary measure, staff and students in secondary schools and colleges are advised to wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing can’t be maintained as a temporary extra measure as the at-home testing regime is set up.  This will be reviewed at Easter.

  • In primary schools, face covering should be worn by staff in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible.  Children in primary school do not need to wear a face covering.

  • Secondary school and college students will take COVID-19 tests as they return to the classroom from 8th March.  After an initial programme of 3 tests, students will be provided with 2 rapid tests to use each week at home.  School staff will also be supplied with 2 test kits to use at home.

  • Primary school children will not be test but all school staff will be supplied with 2 test kits to use at home.

  • You must self-isolate if you get symptoms of COVID-19 and book for a COVID test.  If you test positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days.  The 10 day period commences on the day your symptoms started or if you do not have symptoms, the day you had the test.  You may need to self-isolate for long if you get symptoms while self-isolating or your symptoms get worse.

  • If someone you live with tests positive, your self-isolation period includes the day their symptoms started or the day they had the test, if they do not have symptoms and the next 10 full days.  For more detailed guidance on how long to self-isolate click here.

The full Government ‘Guidance for schools: coronavirus’ can be viewed by clicking here.

Tuesday 1st September 2020 

Here for you

Whilst at all times following government advice from Public Health England, the DfE; as well as from the WHO, Step Teachers has implemented a business as usual approach.  Our staff have remained available to assist both schools and agency staff; helping to answer their concerns and ensuring they have access to the government support schemes through the furlough scheme

Guidance as of September 1st 2020, It has been our priority to keep communication lines open, communicating clearly that our agency workers are to follow government guidelines to manage their personal risk of infection if they are experiencing symptom or if they are living with someone with symptom.

We have introduced a system of pre-screening before any agency worker is placed into a booking.  Where an agency worker is found to have contracted COVID-19 or is displaying symptom, even where mild, then they are required to stay at home for at least 7 days from when the symptoms started (if they live alone), or 14 days when they live with someone who has symptoms.

As of September 1st 2020, the wearing of facemasks and other face covering in schools is not currently recommended and the majority of staff will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their roles, even when it is not always possible to maintain a distance of 2 metres. 

Information related to education

The department for education has launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows: