9th December 2021
Following the confirmation on Wednesday 8 December by the Prime Minister that England will move to Plan B following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the UK, the DfE guidance document, Schools COVID-19 operational guidance, has now been updated.
From 13 December, workers who can work from home should do so. Anyone who cannot work from home, such as those involved in the face-to-face provision of education, should continue to go to their place of work. When considering homeworking, schools should, as before, consider whether home working is appropriate for workers facing mental or physical health difficulties, or those with a particularly challenging home working environment and discuss these concerns with staff.
The advice has not changed regarding people previously considered to be particularly vulnerable. Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) and at higher risk are not being advised to shield again. In some circumstances, staff may have received personal advice from their specialist or clinician on additional precautions to take and, as before, schools should continue to support them to follow that advice. Whilst individual risk assessments are not required, schools are expected to discuss any concerns that those previously considered CEV may have.
In addition to these changes to the guidance regarding the management of the schools workforce, the updated guidance document also contains new information on control measures to reflect developments on ventilation and changes to the asymptomatic testing section. These reflect the advice that schools should strongly encourage all visitors to take a lateral flow device test before entering school premises.
We are in the process of updating our Coronavirus Resources Hub with regard to the new guidance.