First Day of School: When schools go back in the UK and the Covid testing guidance in place, Report

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First Day of School: When schools go back in the UK and the Covid testing guidance in place, Report
First Day of School: When schools go back in the UK and the Covid testing guidance in place, Report

This school year will be far more normal than the last, with the vast majority of Covid restrictions dropped.

A Google Doodle is celebrating pupils returning to school in the UK today, for the start of a new academic year.

Pupils in Scotland may be a bit miffed to see this, however, as they have already been back in the classroom for a couple of weeks.

This school year will be far more normal than the last, with the vast majority of Covid restrictions dropped.

But some will remain in place, with emphasis placed on increased testing and improving ventilation.

When did schools go back in Scotland?

In Scotland the summer holidays start earlier than the rest of the UK, with the 2020-21 school year concluding on Friday 25 June for most areas, and even earlier in others.

There are various theories as to why this difference exists, such as the myth that it allowed children to assist on the land in rural communities (the busiest time for farmers actually comes with the harvest in autumn).

Whatever the reason, the earlier holidays mean that Scottish children also go back to school sooner.

In many local councils the new school year began on Wednesday 18 August, with others returning on Monday 16 August and some even starting the week before.

When do schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland go back?

In England, most schools broke up on Friday 23 July, while in Wales many pupils ended the year a week earlier.

This means the autumn term kicks off on either Wednesday 1 September or, following an inset day, a day later.

In Northern Ireland, pupils enjoy the longest summer holidays of anywhere in the UK.

Schools there broke up on Thursday 1 July, with students getting a full two months off. They will all return on Wednesday 1 September.

You can check the precise dates for your local council by using the Government’s postcode checker here.

What Covid rules are in place?

All students and teachers will be tested at the start of term. Lateral flow tests will be given out to pupils and teachers in secondary schools and staff in primary schools. People will be encouraged to test regularly.

Schools have been given ventilation monitors which assess carbon dioxide levels in classrooms, allowing staff to increase ventilation levels, for example by opening a window, when they get too low.

The bubbles of last year have been scrapped, and pupils and staff will no longer be required to wear masks.

If a pupil or teacher tests positive, people in their class and who were close contacts will have to take a PCR test, but will not have to self-isolate unless it comes back positive.

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