With the new term starting in Hampshire, the county council has set out a number of Covid measures that will be in place for pupils.

With Autumn term beginning tomorrow, thousands of young people are set to return to school, with Hampshire County Council saying it is wants pupils to return while ‘keeping any possible COVID-19 risks to the absolute minimum.’

The county council’s executive lead member for children’s services, Councillor Roz Chadd, said: “We know that children and young people are looking forward to the new academic year and that education staff are eager to start welcoming them back.

“For the autumn term, the priority for the County Council and all education settings is to ensure that pupils and students can safely and effectively return to learning in the classroom, in a way that keeps any possible COVID-19 risks to the absolute minimum. It has been an especially challenging 18 months for children and young people and we want their lives to return to normal as much as possible.

“As restrictions ease it may seem as if coronavirus has gone away, but every action we take to stop the spread still counts. I want to encourage people of all ages to do their part by using tissues to catch and bin coughs and sneezes, continuing frequent hand washing, and using twice weekly Lateral Flow tests if they are eligible.

“If you are a parent or carer of a 16 or 17 year old, please urge them to take up the jab. Vaccines are safe, effective and vital in helping to limit the spread of the virus.”

This term, there will be changes to the Covid measures that have previously been in place, such as the ending of bubbles in schools and the requirement for wearing face coverings being removed in school – though they are still recommended on public transport to school.

As a result of these changes, activities such as singing and brass bands can be brought back.

Regular asymptomatic testing is encouraged at home, with twice weekly tests encouraged for secondary school and college students. While under-18s no longer have to isolate if in contact with a Covid positive individual, anyone students is unwell, with or without Covid symptoms, should stay at home.

Vaccines can also be taken up by older students, with 16 and 17-year-olds now eligible to be vaccinated, while 12-15-year-olds 15 with underlying health conditions or who live with someone that is clinically vulnerable can also be vaccinated.

Individual schools may have their own measures in place, which parents should be informed of.