DfE information below relating to School closures and Contact Tracing during February 2021 half term.
February 2021 half-term
Schools will close as usual over February half-term and are not expected to remain open to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers during that week.
Schools do not need to provide lunch parcels or vouchers during the February half-term. There is wider government support in place to support families and children outside of term-time through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme. The £170 million scheme is being run by local authorities in England, with at least 80% of the funding earmarked to support with food and essential utility costs and will cover the period to the end of March 2021. It will allow local authorities to directly help the hardest-hit families and individuals over the winter period. Local authorities have local ties and knowledge, making them best placed to identify and help those children and families most in need.
Contact tracing over the February 2021 half-term
Schools continue to play an important role in contact tracing for those pupils and staff who continue to attend their school. We recognise the challenges of this responsibility during holidays. Given limited numbers on-site, we expect contact tracing activity to be reduced but this remains vitally important in the continued national effort to limit the spread of the virus.
Where pupils or staff still attending their school test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) during the holidays, having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school, schools are not required to take any action. Staff, parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace. However, where pupils or staff still attending their school test positive having developed symptoms within 48 hours of being in school, the school is asked to assist in identifying close contacts and advising self-isolation, as the individual may have been infectious whilst in school.
Staff responsible for contact tracing are not asked to be on-call at all times and may designate a limited period in the day to receive notification of positive cases and advise close contacts to self-isolate (this can be done by text or email).
Where schools can do so, staff assuming responsibility for contact tracing during half-term can be offered equivalent time off at an agreed point during term time.
The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline and the PHE Advice Service will remain open over the February half-term to answer any questions you have about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.
Testing over half-term
Where schools are regularly testing staff, this does not need to take place during the holidays and can resume after the half-term.
Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline
The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline and the PHE Advice Service (option 1) is available to answer any questions you have about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm
Please listen carefully to all of the available options before selecting the most appropriate option for your nursery, school, college or university.
Department for Education guidance
Our guidance to support education providers, local authorities and parents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be accessed using the links below: