Leeds local lockdown in schools: New and current rules for primary and secondary schools for parents and pupils explained

Local lockdown restrictions have been introduced in Leeds, meaning the guidelines for school pupils have officially changed.

This is the latest official information and guidance for parents of children in school and for school pupils themselves in Leeds specifically.

What are the rules for pupils to follow in school in Leeds?

The government has issued these rules which MUST be in place in all schools at all times:

These are the new rules at school during Leeds local lockdown (file photo)

1) Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school.

2) Where recommended, use of face coverings in schools (this is now compulsory for secondary school pupils due to local lockdown - more below).

3) Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual.

4) Ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.

5) Introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents and bleach.

6) Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible.

-> The 15 Leeds Covid hotspots this week as we enter local lockdownThe government advice is explained by Gov.uk:

"If anyone in the school becomes unwell with a new and persistent cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), they must be sent home and advised to follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, which sets out that they should self-isolate for at least 10 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19).

"If they have tested positive whilst not experiencing symptoms but develop symptoms during the isolation period, they should restart the 10-day isolation period from the day they develop symptoms.

"Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.

"If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age and needs of the child, with appropriate adult supervision if required. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.

"If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom must be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.

"PPE must be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs). More information on PPE use can be found in the safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance.

"If a child in a boarding school shows symptoms, they should initially self-isolate in their residential setting household. Most children will benefit from self-isolating in their boarding house so that their usual support can continue. Others will benefit more from self-isolating in their family home. For more information on how to care for a symptomatic child while protecting the welfare of other pupils and staff, read the guidance on isolation for residential educational settings.

"As is usual practice, in an emergency, call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Anyone with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms should not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.

"Any members of staff who have helped someone with symptoms and any pupils who have been in close contact with them do not need to go home to self-isolate unless they develop symptoms themselves (in which case, they should arrange a test) or if the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive or they have been requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

"Everyone must wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and running water or use hand sanitiser after any contact with someone who is unwell. The area around the person with symptoms must be cleaned with normal household bleach after they have left to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people. See the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance.

"Public Health England is clear that routinely taking the temperature of pupils is not recommended as this is an unreliable method for identifying coronavirus (COVID-19)."

What are the rules on face masks in schools in Leeds?

Under current Government guidelines, secondary school pupils have to wear masks in areas of England where lockdown restrictions have been imposed.

Face coverings will now have to be worn in communal areas of secondary schools in Leeds.

What if my child lives in a non-lockdown area but goes to school in a lockdown area?

They will need to wear a mask.

Where in school will they need to wear a mask?

In communal areas such as hallways and dining rooms.

Children will also need to wear masks on school buses as masks are mandatory on public transport.

Do they need to wear them in the classroom?

No, pupils will not need to wear them in the classroom, even when social distancing is not possible, according to the government advice.

The government guidance says: "On the basis of current evidence, in light of the mitigating measures education settings are taking, and the negative impact on communication, face coverings will not generally be necessary in the classroom even where social distancing is not possible.

"There is greater use of the system of controls for minimising risk, including through keeping in small and consistent groups or bubbles, and greater scope for physical distancing by staff within classrooms.

"Face coverings can have a negative impact on learning and teaching and so their use in the classroom should be avoided."

What age group needs to wear a mask?

Children in secondary school will need to wear a mask.

The guidance is for children aged 12 upwards to wear a mask which covers Year 7 students up to college and sixth form students.

There is no guidance for primary school students to wear a mask.

What if I don't have a mask?

Where a student or staff member is struggling to access a mask, or if it soiled or unsafe, the guidance says that schools should take steps to have a “small contingency supply” available, adding no-one should excluded on the grounds that they are not wearing a face covering.

Is anyone exempt from wearing a mask?

Exemptions to the new measures include those who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if a person is speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate.