Coronavirus (COVID-19): staying safe in schools, colleges and universities
All pupils have now returned to a school setting in Northern Ireland. This guidance is designed to assist parents, key workers, schools and other educational settings including early years and youth settings in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Department of Education has published revised 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:
For information on CCEA examination 2022 arrangements visit:
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.
To make sure 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.
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 a child develops COVID-19 symptoms
Everyone needs to remain vigilant for the symptoms of COVID-19, and understand what actions to take if 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 three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a high temperature/ fever – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- 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 on the following page:
Close contacts of COVID-19
Contact tracing in schools and other structured and supervised settings
Information on how close contacts are identified and managed in schools and other structured and supervised settings is available on the Public Health Agency website:
This includes out-of-school settings, such as registered group childcare providers, further and higher education campuses, sports and dancing activities, youth clubs, Scouts and other uniformed organisations, church and music groups.
Daily lateral flow device (LFD) testing will be recommended for post-primary school pupils who are identified as household close contacts in the period following an initial/ day two negative PCR test result (which enables a return to school) up until receipt of a negative day eight PCR.
Daily LFD tests will be recommended for fully-vaccinated staff in special schools who are identified as household contacts. The LFD should be taken each day before school until receipt of a negative day eight PCR.
In there is an outbreak or cluster in a post-primary school setting, and following a risk assessment and advice from the Public Health Agency (PHA), pupils and staff may be asked to take a one-off LFD prior to returning to class. This is in addition to ongoing asymptomatic testing.
Close contacts outside of school and other supervised settings
Further information on what children and young people who are not fully vaccinated should do if they are identified as a close contact outside of school and other supervised settings is available at:
Further Education colleges in Northern Ireland
Further Education colleges have returned to face-to-face teaching.
Colleges will continue to adhere to all relevant government-issued industry and workplace restrictions and guidance for training in occupational settings.
For the latest advice for students in further education in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19) see:
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 advice for students in higher education in relation to coronavirus follow the link below:
For the latest updates regarding current teaching activities 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: