Schools ‘may bring back bubbles’ to tackle Covid outbreaks in classrooms

Official guidance has warned school bubbles may return in the future, reports say (Image: PA)

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Officials have reportedly warned schools may need to bring Covid bubbles back into the classroom after the Government pledged to scrap them.

The Department of Education has issued guidance saying it may become necessary to reintroduce bubbles within schools if there are coronavirus outbreaks.

It comes after Education Secretary Gavin Williamson today announced that self-isolation rules for school 'bubbles' will come to an end on August 16.

Mr Williamson has been under pressure to scrap the system, which has led to classes – or even whole schools – being forced to stay at home.

However official guidance today appeared to contradict Mr William's announcement as it warned bubbles may have to return temporarily to cut mixing between groups if outbreaks happen, according to Schools Week.

The Government has been under pressure to scrap the bubble system
(Image: PA)

Public health directors may even advise schools to reintroduce masks in communal areas and classrooms, the website said.

From July 19, social distancing will no longer be needed in England's schools and they will no longer need to stagger start and finish times.

He told the Commons: “Keeping children in consistent groups was essential to control the spread of the virus when our population was less vaccinated.

Gavin Williamson said the system was causing disruption to education
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

“We recognise that the system of bubbles and isolation is causing disruption to many children’s education. That is why we’ll be ending bubbles and transferring contact tracing to the NHS Test and Trace system for early years settings, schools and colleges.”

Mr Williamson told MPs: “I do not think it is acceptable that children should face greater restrictions over and above those of wider society, especially since they have given up so much to keep older generations safe during this pandemic.”

Tory lockdown sceptic Mark Harper pressed Mr Williamson on when regular Covid testing at schools could come to an end.

Children should not face harsher restrictions than adults, Mr Williamson said
(Image: PA)

The Education Secretary replied: "We do want to see schools return to normality and we don't want children to feel as if there's an extra layer of things that they have to do that we as adults don't have to do and I think that is very important."

He said testing has been an "incredibly important tool" in helping schools return and the issue is "under review", adding: "Much longer-term do I see testing as something that we expect children to continuously do always in the future?

"No I don't, and I ideally want to move away from that at the earliest and most realistic possible stage."

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