Published: Friday, 3rd Sep 2021

Advice and guidance have been issued as children return from the school summer holidays with some COVID precautions relaxed.

Some measures such as ventilation, enhanced cleaning and twice weekly rapid home testing will remain but otherwise pupils will enjoy greater freedom at school.

Bubbles and staggered start and finish times are no longer advised, and face coverings are no longer required for staff or visitors.

Despite the relaxation, parents have been reassured that schools remain safe and attendance is essential for children’s development and overall wellbeing.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms must not attend and should self-isolate and book a PCR test.

However, anyone under the age of 18 years and six months, who is identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, no longer needs to self-isolate and can attend school as normal and will be advised to take a precautionary PCR test.

Bolton Council works closely with all education settings to ensure robust risk assessments are in place and will monitor COVID cases closely, taking appropriate action where necessary.

Detailed advice and guidance ahead of the new term are available on the council website.

The Department of Education has also set out the support available to help pupils catch-up after the disruption of the last 18 months.

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Anne Galloway, said:

“The start of a new school year is always an exciting and nervous time for pupils and their parents,

“This is especially true this year as the more relaxed COVID rules mean children will enjoy greater freedom during the school day.

“I want to reassure everyone that schools remain safe and that robust measures are in place to reduce the risk of infection.

“These new rules will keep disruption to a minimum and allow children to enjoy their education after what has been a difficult 18 months.”

Schools in Bolton remained open throughout the pandemic as teachers supported vulnerable pupils and children of key workers while also preparing resources for those learning at home.