Voice Community comments on lifting of COVID restrictions in England

Commons statement by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson on lifting of COVID restrictions in education from 19 July 2021

Commenting on the statement by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson today (6 July 2021) about the lifting of COVID restrictions in education from 19 July, Deborah Lawson, Community Union Assistant General Secretary (Voice education and early years section), said:

“While we welcome the announcements and the end to speculation that all COVID restrictions are to be lifted, and the Secretary of State’s announcement for schools about the removal of bubbles and changes to self-isolation, we are disappointed that all this is being the announced in the last weeks of the summer term.    

“We applaud the dedication of the education workforce throughout the last 16 months, since we know this self-isolation of whole bubbles has been frustrating for pupils, parents and staff, and we have called for it to be reviewed.    

“Workplaces must be safe, and employers should remember that they are duty bound to provide a safe working environment. 

“Voice Community is calling for evidence to show that these proposals for testing without the need for isolation will be effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable pupils and staff.  

“This is especially important in nurseries and primary schools, where pupil testing does not happen. And we want assurances that settings can implement control measures where the evidence suggests they are necessary and proportionate.   

“We have yet to hear the evaluation of the daily testing pilot scheme that the Government were promoting as an alternative to self-isolation, and have hopes that this may provide some answers.    

“We will closely examine the guidance and seek clarification where required to answer members’ questions, and trust that settings will ensure that they are safe for children and staff.”

Further information

Voice Community blog: Bursting bubbles and mobile myths (updated)

www.voicetheunion.org.uk/coronavirus

Department for Education (DfE), 6 July 2021:

Ministerial statement (House of Commons)

Covid restrictions in education settings to end at Step 4 

Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak  Updated: :
What all schools will need to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Updated: : We have added operational guidance for schools which applies at Step 4. This guidance removes restrictions such as keeping children in consistent groups (bubbles) and wearing face coverings in classrooms and communal areas and on dedicated school transport. It also includes information about updating your outbreak management plan and what to do when an individual in your school tests positive for COVID-19. From 16 August 2021, children under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact.

Department of Health and Social Care:  Updated: 

SELF-ISOLATION TO BE EASED FOR FULLY VACCINATED ADULTS IN STEP 4
From 16 August, double jabbed individuals and under 18s will no longer need to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19

Update to Parliament on self-isolation rules 6 July 2021
Oral statement to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on self-isolation rules for those who have had both COVID-19 vaccine doses

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