The Department of Education has published new guidance setting out arrangements to help ensure that school is a safe place for children and young people to continue their education. The guidance is available on the Department of Education website.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for School and Educational Settings in Northern Ireland
- Northern Ireland Re-opening School Guidance - Special Schools
Education Restart Programme
The Education Restart Programme put in place detailed measures and guidance to allow for a safe opening of educational settings.
A Frequently Asked Questions section (FAQs) has also been developed by the Department of Education to enable parents and educational settings to access the information they need about returning to school. The FAQs will be updated regularly and can be found at the following links:
- Education Restart FAQs Parents and Carers
- Education Restart For Children and Young People
- Education Restart Parents and Carers leaflet
- Education Restart Minister’s Letter to parents and carers – 13 August 2020
Children and COVID-19
Child-to-child and child-to-adult transmission of COVID-19 is not common but parents and pupils need to remain vigilant and continue to follow public health measures.
In order to ensure children and young people do not miss out on their education, it is important to be clear about how COVID-19 symptoms differ from those of other infections that are usually seen circulating at this time of the year.
At this time of year, it is common for colds and similar viral infections to circulate. In many cases, children will be well enough to attend school and continue their learning with little or no interruption to their education.
In other cases where they may have a heavy cold they may need to take time off to recover. There is no need to contact your General Practitioner or attend other health services unless you are concerned about your child or would normally to do for other health reasons. They do not need tested for COVID-19 and do not need to self-isolate.
If an individual does not have any of the symptoms stated below, they do not require a test.
Schools should not ask pupils to book a COVID-19 test unless they have one or more of the symptoms above. As there is currently significant demand on the testing programme, it is important that testing is reserved for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 and people who have been advised by contact tracing or other health services to get tested.
If a child develops COVID-19 symptoms
Everyone needs to remain vigilant for the symptoms of COVID-19, and understand what actions are required should someone develop symptoms either at home or in the school setting.
If your child or anyone in your household develops any of the following symptoms of COVID-19 they should stay home and arrange to get tested as soon as possible:
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual; or
- a high temperature/fever – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature); or
- a loss of or change in sense of smell or taste
Further advice is provided in the leaflet below:
Details on how to book a test can be found below:
Post primary transfer tests
This year’s transfer tests have been postponed until January 2021. The Association of Quality Education (AQE) tests will be held on 9 January 2021, 16 January 2021 and 23 January 2021, while the Post-Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC) GL tests will be held on 30 January 2021 and 06 February 2021.
Latest updates for Further Education Colleges in Northern Ireland
All six Further Education Colleges in Northern Ireland have returned to a phased return of on-site educational provision and related activities in line with agreed risk assessments and the Framework for the Safe Resumption of On-site Educational Provision and Related Activity.
If you require advice about the detail and how it will impact your studies, including any support/funds which you are receiving, then you should, in the first instance, access your college’s website for help. For the latest coronavirus updates follow the links below:
- Belfast Metropolitan College
- Northern Regional College
- North West Regional College
- South Eastern Regional College
- Southern Regional College
- South West College
Latest updates for universities in Northern Ireland
For the latest updates regarding current teaching activities in relation to coronavirus follow the links below:
- Queen’s University Belfast
- Ulster University
- Stranmillis University College
- St Mary's University College Belfast
- The Open University
Advice for overseas students
For the latest advice for students currently studying or working on overseas or Erasmus+ placements or considering taking up overseas placements follow the links below: