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Frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 and the return to school

The Island’s schools and UCM will maintain proportionate protective measures this term, in order to keep students and staff safe in line with Public Health advice.

These measures are hoped to help keep our Island’s schools and college open for face-to-face education. While the risk of COVID-19 cannot be dismissed, our aim is to help students, staff and parents return to school confidently and happily – with a sense of wellbeing and excitement, not anxiety.

How will schools be kept COVID safe this year?

All of the Island’s schools and UCM have carefully considered protective measures that keep staff and students safe, whilst maintaining access to education and social interaction as much as possible.

Schools and UCM have thorough risk assessments in hand and have implemented measures to support HANDS, FACE, SPACE and FRESH AIR.

There will be increased ventilation and extra hand hygiene precautions in place. Where appropriate, Carbon dioxide monitors will also be used to monitor air quality in some classrooms.

What happens if a student tests positive?

If a student tests positive they must isolate at home for 10 days, in line with current Public Health advice.

The student or their parents may be asked about any close contacts (those that they have come into face to face contact with for a cumulative period of 15 minutes or more) at school, or anywhere else. Schools may be asked to help in identifying close contacts.

This year, close contacts including classmates and siblings will not need to self-isolate, however they may be asked to used LFD tests and take extra precautions to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.

Will students be tested?

Primary school students do not need to take LFD tests unless they are identified as a close contact.

Secondary and UCM students, and staff across all schools, are strongly encouraged to take two LFD tests each week at their home.

Around one in three people who have COVID-19 have no symptoms, so it is vital that we make use of the Lateral Flow test. The latest Public Health Surveillance Report demonstrates that 67% of positive PCR tests are identified thanks to an initial LFD test – they are a really important tool for us to uncover hidden cases of the virus at the start of the term.

How do I access LFDs?

LFD test kits are now available to everyone in the Isle of Man, free of charge.

You can collect them from any participating pharmacy, or order online

What if my child returns a positive test?

If your child or a member of your family returns a positive LFD test result, they should isolate immediately, notify the school and book a PCR test by calling 111 or visiting the website.

If your child returns a positive LFD test, other members of your family can continue to attend school but you should remain vigilant for symptoms of COVID-19. We recommend that all other household members do an LFD test every day for seven days, see here.

Will students need to socially distance?

No, at the present time there will be no specific requirements for social distancing within educational settings. Our aim is to maintain social settings and access education as far as possible.

Will students need to wear a face covering?

Wearing a face covering can help to protect both the wearer and those around them and are particularly effective when worn in confined or enclosed spaces and close contact settings.

All staff and students at are encouraged to wear face coverings in school building and on buses.

Primary school children do not need to wear a face covering, but might choose to if they wish.

What if a student is unwell?

Attendance at school is compulsory, but if a student feels unwell or develops any COVID-19 symptoms, they should not attend and stay at home. You should notify school as soon as possible and request a PCR test by going to the website or calling 111.

If a primary student is unwell but does not have the symptoms of COVID-19, you should treat them as you would with another illness, keeping at home if severe and notifying school, but it is a good idea to monitor them to ensure that they do not begin displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

If a secondary or UCM student is unwell but does not have the symptoms of COVID-19, it is recommended that they take a LFD test for extra precaution for the duration of their sickness/ absence.

Will exams go ahead in 2022?

Major exams such as GCSEs, A-levels and vocational qualifications are expected to return in 2022, however the situation remains under review.

What if I, or my child, have a concern about COVID-19 in educational settings?

For questions regarding COVID-19, we encourage you to check the latest public health advice by visiting www.gov.im/covid19

If you have a concern about mitigations in place within the school or how they relate to your child, you are encouraged to contact the head teacher in the first instance.

My child is anxious about COVID-19

It is understandable that some children may have picked up on wider anxieties about COVID-19. The return to school and a new school year should be a positive and exciting time with children happy and relaxed. If your child is anxious, check out our guide to talking to your child about COVID-19.