Covid rules from Monday: All schools need to know

The DfE has updated its coronavirus guidance for schools following yesterday's major 'road map' decision

Rob Griffin

New Covid rules from 17 May: What schools need to know

Schools will be able to relax some Covid-19 restrictions next week after the government officially unveiled the next step on the road back to normality.

The Department for Education has now updated its guidance on key issues such as attendance, educational visits and the wearing of face masks.

The changes were announced in a press conference last night by prime minister Boris Johnson.

Covid: Updated rules for schools

Here we outline the main updates in the 72-page guidance document:

Face coverings

Neither students nor staff will have to wear masks in secondary schools classrooms from 17 May.

In addition, students will not need them in communal areas, although they are still be recommended for staff and visitors when social distancing is not possible.

Domestic school trips

Domestic residential educational visits can take place from 17 May. These must be organised in line with relevant Covid-19 guidance and regulations.

Children must be kept within their consistent groups (bubbles) for visits. Parents, carers or volunteers should not accompany the group.

Schools are not recommended to go on international visits in the current academic year due to the travel complexities involved.

Wraparound provision and extracurricular activity

There will not be any restrictions on the number of children taking place in activities indoors from 17 May.

However, the advice remains to minimise mixing between children, such as keeping them in consistent groups.

News: Face coverings no longer required in secondary schools from Monday

Headteachers: ‘Very worrying’ school masks plan ‘contradicts science’

Related: Overnight school trips possible from next Monday

Transitional, taster and open days

Risk assessments must be completed before running transitional, taster and open days to ensure they align with government guidance.

Exam cohort attendance and provision

The government has acknowledged that work completed after the May half term will not contribute to the grades of many students.

Therefore, schools should make "appropriate judgements" on activities for students in Years 11 and 13 during the summer term.

This may include visits to education providers, independent study, or remote provision combined with attendance in person.

Legislation governing compulsory school age has not changed. So students cease to be of compulsory school age on the last Friday of June in the year they turn 16 and will not be required to attend school after this date.


School attendance became mandatory for all pupils from 8 March.

The guidance confirms that remote education must still be provided to pupils unable to attend classes – in line with the government’s coronavirus guidance.

Pupils travelling from abroad

Where pupils travel from abroad to attend a boarding school, the rules need to be explained to them and their parents before they travel to the UK.

Anyone who is not a British or Irish national, or who does not have the right to reside in the UK, who has travelled from or through a "red list" country in the previous 10 days is not permitted to enter.

Pupils travelling from "amber list" countries may quarantine at home or at accommodation provided by their school for 10 days.

Those coming from "green list" countries do not need to quarantine unless their Covid-19 test result is positive.

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Rob Griffin

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