Removal of testing and isolation requirements in England

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 21 February about future Covid-19 regulations, changes affecting the early years include:

From Monday 21 February, the Government is removing the guidance for staff and students in most education and childcare settings to undertake twice-weekly asymptomatic testing.

From Thursday 24 February, the Government will

  • remove the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test. Adults and children who test positive will continue to be advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for at least 5 full days, and then continue to follow the guidance until they have received 2 negative test results on consecutive days.
  • No longer ask fully vaccinated close contacts and those aged under 18 to test daily for 7 days, and remove the legal requirement for close contacts who are not fully vaccinated to self-isolate.
  • End self-isolation support payments, national funding for practical support and the medicine delivery service will no longer be available.
  • End routine contact tracing. Contacts will no longer be required to self-isolate or advised to take daily tests. Staff, children and young people should attend their education settings as usual. This includes staff who have been in close contact within their household, unless they are able to work from home.
  • End the legal obligation for individuals to tell their employers when they are required to self-isolate.

From Thursday 24 March, the Government will remove the COVID-19 provisions within the Statutory Sick Pay and Employment and Support Allowance regulations.

From 31 March 2022, the UKHSA advice service will be decommissioned. The DfE COVID-19 helpline will still be available to answer your questions relating to COVID-19 in education and childcare settings, once the UKHSA advice service is switched off.

From Friday 1 April, the Government will:

  • Update guidance setting out the ongoing steps that people with COVID-19 should take to minimise contact with other people. This will align with the changes to testing.
  • No longer provide free to order universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public in England.
  • Consolidate guidance to the public and businesses, in line with public health advice.