School and childcare updates: Coronavirus

Updated – 17 May 2021

New guidance on face coverings

From today government guidance on the wearing of face coverings in secondary schools has changed.

Students will no longer be required to wear a face covering in school, but they do still need to wear one while travelling on public transport or on dedicated school transport.

Staff and visitors in secondary schools no longer need to wear a face covering in classrooms but must continue to wear one in communal areas, such as corridors and staff rooms, where social distancing is not possible.

Should there be further localised outbreaks, it may be necessary to reintroduce the requirement for face coverings to be worn in schools. Parents will be informed in these circumstances.

You can find further details on the government guidance here.


Covid symptoms, tests and self-isolation – important information for parents and carers

As we move towards the relaxation of national Covid restrictions it remains vitally important that we all continue to follow the guidelines that are there to keep everyone safe and well.

Following the basic Hands, Face, Space guidance remains one of the most effective ways of reducing the spread of the virus and we’re urging everyone not to become complacent in this.

If you’re a parent or carer with children at school, there are a number of additional key points you need to be aware of, particularly in relation to testing, self-isolation and when you need to keep your children off school.

There are two types of test for Covid-19. The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test is for people who have symptoms – a high temperature, a new and continuous cough or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste.

The Lateral Flow Device test (LFD) is for people who do not have symptoms. One in three people who have Covid-19 do not have any symptoms and LFD testing helps to avoid people without symptoms from unknowingly passing the virus on to others.

If your child is at secondary school, it is likely that they will be taking regular Lateral Flow Device tests. This is also the same type of test that parents and carers with school aged children can use at home. Please note however, that LFD tests should not be used by children at primary school or nursery school.

Key points to remember in relation to testing, self-isolation and school attendance are:

  • You and the people you live with must self-isolate immediately if you have a positive Covid test result from either a PCR or an LFD test. This mean you must not leave your home or your garden for any reason. If you received a positive LFD test result you must get a PCR test to confirm the result. Only if you have a negative PCR test within two days can you leave self-isolation.
  • The self-isolation period for anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19 is at least 10 full days. You will be advised of the actual dates by NHS Test and Trace. See our FAQ's for more information on self-isolating.
  • If you or your child has had a positive result from an LFD test done at home or at school then you must arrange a PCR test to confirm the result. To book a PCR test go to or telephone 119 (7am – 11pm).
  • If your child has been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 they must self-isolate for 10 full dayseven if they have had a negative test result. This is because it can take 10 days for Covid to develop. Your child’s school will advise you of the date they are able to return. The rest of the household does not need to self-isolate unless they become ill or someone in the home tests positive.
  • Do not send your child to school if they are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 or if they feel unwell, even if they have had a negative test result.
  • If you or your child have one of the three main Covid-19 symptoms you should arrange a PCR test and everyone in the household must self-isolate. You should not use an LFD test if you have symptoms.
  • If you need support with self-isolation Newcastle City Council’s Welfare and Wellbeing Team may be able to help you. Visit or call 0800 170 7001 or 0191 277 8000 (8am-8pm Monday to Friday, 9am-3pm Saturday).
  • If you or your child is required to self-isolate, you may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment. For more details see
  • Finally – always follow the Hands, Face, Space rules and help keep everyone safe.
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