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What will be different in schools?

While coronavirus (COVID-19) remains in the community, schools or colleges will have control measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to provide a full educational experience for children and young people.

These control measures may include:

Grouping children together

Consistent groups reduce the risk of transmission by limiting the number of pupils and staff in contact with each other to only those within the group. They have been used in schools in the summer term in recognition that children, and especially the youngest children, cannot socially distance from staff or from each other and this provides an additional protective measure. Maintaining distinct groups or ‘bubbles’ that do not mix makes it quicker and easier in the event of a positive case to identify those who may need to self-isolate and keep that number as small as possible.

Avoiding contact between groups

Groups should be kept apart, meaning that schools will avoid large gatherings such as assemblies or collective worship with more than one group.

When timetabling, groups will be kept apart and movement around the school site kept to a minimum. While passing briefly in the corridor or playground is low risk, schools will avoid creating busy corridors, entrances and exits. Schools may also introduce staggered break times and lunch times.

Arranging classrooms with forward-facing desks

With the teacher at the front of class, and pupils sitting at well-spaced desks, all facing forward.

Measures for arriving at and leaving school

Travel to school patterns differ greatly between schools. Schools or colleges may introduce staggered starts or adjusting start and finish times to keep groups apart as they arrive and leave school. Staggered start and finish times should not reduce the amount of overall teaching time.


Children and young people asked to clean their hands more often than usual, including when they arrive at school or college, when they return from breaks, and before and after eating - this will be done with soap and running water or hand sanitiser.

Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned more often.

Find more guidance on the government website.