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Back to school in September 2021

As the country moved to Step 4 on 19 July 2021, the government issued new advice which parents and carers may find useful as guidance in preparation for the return to school in the Autumn term.

The actual start date in September varies for each school and your school will contact you with details or you can check your school’s website for information.

Education is integral to a child’s social and emotional development and to getting their education back on track. The benefits of attending school and early years settings significantly outweighs the COVID-19 health risk. We want to ensure that all children and students can experience as much normality and stability in their education and care settings as possible.

All children are expected back in school for the start of the new term unless they are self-isolating because they have coronavirus symptoms and/or have tested positive for coronavirus and/or have recently returned from abroad and are required to quarantine.

Some parents and children may feel anxious about the return to school, however, schools and settings are following national and local guidance and to minimise the risk of infection.  Please continue to encourage your child to follow the guidance.  Children are at very low risk of becoming seriously unwell from Covid-19. If your child needs support with their mental health, there is some useful guidance here (link to Mental health support for young people – Portsmouth City Council)

Secondary school pupils will need to do two tests on site at school before term starts, and twice weekly tests from then on until the end of September when testing will be reviewed. Your child’s school will inform you or you can check the school website for details.

Children who have to miss school due to following coronavirus guidance will be given work by their school to do at home but schools are not expected to provide remote education for anyone else.

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms must self-isolate and request a PCR test (link to testing PCC website information)

Children under 18 years and 6 months are no longer required to self-isolate if they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive, including if they share a household with someone who has tested positive, but may be asked to do a PCR test.

Everyone over 16 is now eligible for a vaccine and children aged 12 to 15 with specific underlying health conditions or who live with others at increased risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19 are also eligible for the vaccine. Find out more (link to information on PCC website – Coronavirus vaccinations – Portsmouth City Council).

Possible coronavirus symptoms

The Wessex Healthier Together website has useful information for parents if you are worried that your child has coronavirus or another illness and you are not sure what to do.

You must get a test if you or anyone in your household has:

  • a high temperature (chest or back hot to touch)
  • a new, continuous cough or
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Find out more about getting a test in Portsmouth.

Find out more information about how to self-isolate, what you can and can’t do and what local support is available in our protect Portsmouth self-isolation guide.

You can find the latest NHS information and advice on the NHS website.

FAQs for parents

Helpful information and support

Here are some other helpful sources of information and places you can find support: