Schools in England will reopen in September, with attendance to become mandatory for all students.
Whole year groups will be forced to form bubbles at secondary schools and will not be able to interact with other year groups, but social distancing will not be mandatory within the bubbles.
Primary school students will have to form bubbles of up to 30 people.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed the plans today, telling MPs that the past three months had been “some of the most challenging” ever faced by the education sector.
Williamson said that every school in England would open in September “come what may”, while highlighting the challenges that the period had brought for underprivileged children.
“Returning to normal educational routines as quickly as possible is critical to our national recovery too,’ he said.
Under the new plans, vast numbers of pupils will have to self-isolate if two pupils in a school return positive coronavirus tests in a fortnight period.
Large scale outbreaks could even force entire schools to shut down.
There will also be other to measures to reduce the risk of infection, such as staggered start times and making it mandatory for all pupils to face the front at all times.
Williamson also told the House of Commons that schools will have access to Covid-19 testing.
“By the start of the autumn term we will provide all schools and colleges with a small number of testing kits,” he said.
“These will be taken home by children or staff who develop symptoms while on site but who would struggle to access a testing centre. This is so that they can have a test quickly and that they can get results back quickly.
“All schools will have direct access to support and advice from their local Public Health England health protection team to deal with any cases that may occur. They will be advised on what steps need to be taken.”