The revised guidance has been amended to reflect:

  • the recent strengthening of restrictions agreed by the Executive on public gatherings;
  • additional public health guidance on when to self-isolate and how to deal with those who refuse to test and /or self-isolate;
  • up to date policy on educational visits; and,
  • expanded advice on ventilation in schools.

Key changes to guidance

  • tele-conference or video-conference must be used for all parent-teacher meetings (section one)
  • Open Nights/Days are not permitted (section one).
  • All in-school meetings with more than six adults must be held by tele-conference or video-conference. (page 17 - table and paragraph 9 & 10).
  • Physical attendance by staff at external training events should be strongly discouraged(section one). 
  • Schools should prohibit attendance of spectators at school based sports and cultural events (page 18 - see table and paragraph 9).
  • Clarification on educational visits and school trips (page 19 paragraph 10).
  • Expanded advice on ventilation* - the ambient temperature in a workplace should not be below 16C. Windows should be opened just enough to provide constant background ventilation, and opened more fully during breaks to purge the air in the space (page 24 paragraph 25-31).
  • Updated guidance on the use of face coverings on public transport and school transport (page 37, paragraph 34).
  • Clarification on the circumstances when a close contact may have occurred in transport settings (page 43, paragraph 28).
  • Updated guidance on public transport and school transport for persons developing symptoms (page 43 paragraphs 28).
  • Clarification that staff and pupils are expected to follow advice and self-isolate immediately they become aware of being in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. staff and pupils should not wait until they are contacted if they know that they have been a close contact). Pupils and staff who exhibit any symptoms associated with COVID-p19 should not attend school and anyone who develops symptoms at school will be sent home (Page 62, paragraphs 7 and 8).
  • Clarification on the action to take when a child refuses to, or is physically unable to take a COVID-19 test (page 65, paragraphs 14 and15)
  • Updated guidance on Test Trace and Protect (pages 63 - 66, paragraphs 7, 8 10, 11 and 14)
  • School behaviour policies should be updated to allow appropriate sanctions including suspension and expulsion for non-compliance with COVID-19 related school policies (paragraphs 18 & 19 on page 10 & 11).

*Read the NEU advice on ventilation and temperatures.

Schools are encouraged to review their existing COVID-19 measures and amend them as necessary to reflect the good practice set out in this guidance

In addition to the new guidance the department has also published an updated flow chart on how to deal with covid-19 positive case in a school setting. 

Coronavirus guidance for schools will continue to be reviewed and amended to address any future scientific and medical evidence that arise. 

Northern Ireland
Coronavirus guidance for schools and educational settings - February 2021

Key changes since Northern Ireland Re-opening Schools Guidance – New School Day published on 28 September 2020.

Northern Ireland
Management of covid-19 positive case in a school setting

This document should be used in conjunction with Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for schools and educational settings. It is not an exhaustive list of actions.