Back to news listing

Next article

NEWS: Government publishes next steps for Living with COVID

The Government in England has announced the upcoming changes in its plan for Living with COVID-19. From tomorrow, (Friday 1 April) new guidance will come into force with updated advice around COVID-19 testing in England.  

Coronavirus testing 

  • Free, universal testing for the general public in England will end on 1 April. This means for early years and childcare practitioners, free test kits will no longer be available. 

  • Free testing will be available for specific groups: those who are at higher risk from getting ill from coronavirus or who live/work in adult social care services. These groups may also be eligible to continue with asymptomatic testing. These people will be notified and test kits will be made available to them.  

Stay at home advice 

  • From 1 April, public health guidance will advise people in England who have symptoms of a respiratory infection (including COVID-19) and a high temperature or who feel unwell, to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, until they feel well enough and no longer have a high temperature.  

  • Public health guidance will advise children who are unwell or have a high temperature to stay at home and avoid attending their education or childcare setting until they feel well enough and no longer have a temperature 

  • From 1 April, anyone in England who does access COVID testing and tests positive for the virus will be advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days, which is when they are most infectious. For children this is reduced to 3 days, based what is known about children's infectious period and balancing disruption to their education and learning.  

What does this mean for early years and childcare settings?  

The coronavirus pandemic is not over, however you should be confident in taking steps to manage COVID-19 like any other illness in your setting. This means ensuring good ventilation and cleaning procedures in your setting and following the public health guidance for those with possible infection. If you, a family member or child in your setting is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus you should follow the separate advice for these groups.  

If you have leftover test kits in your setting after 1 April, please keep hold of these until you receive further communication.  

Scaling up measures 

The government has kept plans in place to be able to reinstate testing and scale up measures in response to any changes in public health advice, such as major outbreaks or emergence of variants of concern.  

New Government guidance on Friday 1 April 

We are expecting updated Government guidance to be published shortly in line with this announcement. This will be a move away from sector-specific guidance towards general public health advice.  

We will update our PACEY FAQs so that PACEY members have all you need to operate confidently in the next stage of Living with COVID-19.