Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on reducing the risks in schools

Non-statutory guidance to ensure a low risk and supportive environment for learning and teaching.

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Implementing this guidance

This guidance sets out which of the current measures local authorities and schools should retain. All other measures can be removed from schools, as they are no longer judged necessary or proportionate to ensure the safety of school communities. The guidance highlights some key mitigations with a particular impact on school operations and educational experiences that are no longer required.

Local implementation of the guidance

This guidance is not a recommendation for schools to return to previous practice that pre-dates the pandemic. Instead, it is intended to support outcomes for children and young people, in a proportionate and responsible manner. This should be led by local authorities in a way that capitalises on the good practice developed over the pandemic period, and which takes full account of practical considerations in a way that does not create operational difficulties or unnecessary additional workload for staff.

The Advisory sub-group has also recommended that we devolve more autonomy and flexibility of decision-making to local authorities, schools and other settings which welcome school pupils in implementing the guidance – recognising also the importance of local dialogue, including with LNCTs, in reaching local decisions. Schools should operate in line with their own circumstances and risk assessments as they do in all areas of school life. If concerns emerge about local decisions and their impact on school safety, those concerns could be raised at the COSLA Workforce Issues Group (WIG) for further discussion. 

If undertaking a particular activity is not explicitly precluded through this guidance – i.e. if it is not listed as a routine measure – then schools and local authorities should treat it as permissible provided they take account of relevant risks. Similarly, while this guidance reduces the mitigations that schools are required to have in place, local authorities and schools are not recommended to return to pre-pandemic practices and are encouraged to retain good practice developed during the pandemic where appropriate.



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