Monday 16 August sees new rules around self-isolation requirements for those who are identified as a close contact of a positive coronavirus case in England.
If you are identified as a close contact and you are fully vaccinated (at least two weeks from your final dose) or under 18 years of age, you will no longer be legally required to isolate. Instead these groups will be advised by NHS Test and Trace to take a free PCR test as soon as possible, although this is not a legal requirement. If you test positive or begin to display symptoms, then you do still legally have to isolate in line with Public Health England guidance regardless of whether you are vaccinated.
The government has clarified that young adults who are turning 18 and up to the age of 18 years and 6 months will included the under-18s group to allow them time to get vaccinated. And children under five will only be advised to take a PCR test if the positive case is in their household.
We have developed a helpful new scenario chart for PACEY members to explain the changes. You can also check our updated coronavirus guidance where you’ll find an updated coronavirus risk assessment resource and our new outbreak management plan. All of these are free for you to download as a member, helping you demonstrate to your families you have everything in place to manage any future cases.
If you are in any doubt over the rules that apply in your setting, you can contact the Department for Education COVID-19 helpline for support. And remember our friendly PACEY Advisors are always happy to provide more general support and advice on this and any other concerns you might have.
The Department for Education recently published a Q&A document outlining some of the frequently asked questions about the move to Step 4 of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. You can read this here.
The DfE has also previously stated that in 'exeptional circumstances' settings may decide to refuse a close contact in the setting if, "in the setting's reasonable judgement, it is necessary to protect those within the setting from possible infection with COVID-19". Settings should make sure to consider all the circumstances in making this decision, including disruption to the child and current public health advice.