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Schools ‘could bring back bubbles to control Covid outbreaks in class’ despite system being scrapped in August

SCHOOLS could bring back bubbles to control Covid outbreaks despite the system being scrapped from next month.

It comes as latest covid figures show that 641,200 pupils are off this week off school in England as a result of Covid.

Around 8.5 per cent of state school pupils did not attend class for Covid-19-related reasons on July 1.

Despite the soaring statistics, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced earlier today that school bubbles will be scrapped from August 16.

This would mean that whole classes or year groups will not have to be sent home to isolate for ten days each time a pupil tests positive.

But now, guidance published by the Department of Education tonight says that schools “may wish” to continue with bubbles until the end of the summer term.

They say it “may become necessary to reintroduce bubbles” if there is covid outbreak in schools.

They added that teachers should make decisions about bubbles using their "reasonable judgment".

Earlier today Mr Williamson told the Commons: "Keeping children in consistent groups was essential to control the spread of the virus when our population was less vaccinated.

"We recognise that the system of bubbles and isolation is causing disruption to many children's education.

"That is why we'll be ending bubbles and transferring contact tracing to the NHS Test and Trace system for early years settings, schools and colleges."

Mr Williamson added: "Where there are outbreaks schools and colleges may be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and they will also work with local health teams as they currently do now.

"We're also setting out new rules that mean from the 16th of August children will only need to isolate if they have tested positive for Covid-19."

In addition to ending bubbles, Mr Williamson said it will "not be necessary to stagger start and finish times" at schools.

But the Education Secretary said "some protective measures" – such as enhanced hygiene and ventilation – will remain in place for the autumn term.

It comes after Sajid Javid today confirmed that double-jabbed Brits will be allowed to skip self-isolation – but only from August 16.

The Health Sec revealed plans to rip up the mandatory 10-day quarantine for close contacts of positive cases.

People who test positive will still have to self-isolate for 10 days even if they're jabbed, he warned.

And close contacts will still be urged to get a gold-standard PCR test to "get certainty" that they're not infected.

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