February 23, 2021 9.40 am This story is over 16 months old

Compulsory masks and weekly tests once schools reopen

Still no exams either

Students in secondary schools will have to do two rapid flow COVID-19 tests a week when they return to school on March 8.

Home testing will occur twice weekly for secondary school pupils, though no testing has yet been planned for primary schools.

All schools in England will reopen on March 8 as part of the first step in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Schools will be able to decide a phased return to class during that week, though attendance will be compulsory when schools reopen with penalty fines for those who don’t go back.

New measures have been brought in to try and keep coronavirus infection rates down, including mandatory face coverings and regular testing for staff and students.

Parents will be asked to conduct lateral flow testing on their children twice a week to test for COVID-19, though schools will be providing testing facilities for anyone who may not be able to carry out home tests.

If students test negative on their first test, they will be allowed to continue at school, and a positive test will mean they must stay home and self-isolate.

Face masks will be required for pupils and staff in secondary and further education classrooms, and staff in primary schools will be asked to wear masks in corridors.

Staff will also be asked to wear face coverings in any settings where social distancing is not possible.

GCSE and A-level exams will remain cancelled this year and have been replaced by grading based on the judgement of teachers.

Mini-exams may take place in class to better assess students, though they will not be forced by government.

In his press conference on Monday, the Prime Minister said: “All the evidence shows that schools are safe and the risk posed to children by COVID is vanishingly small.”