While it remains the case that people should maintain a two metre gap between themselves and others in public places, the department has always made clear that we know this is not always going to be possible for younger children. Public Health England reports that while general groups should be kept apart, brief contact among children remains low risk.
It is important to reiterate that while effort should be made to maintain distancing between pupils, the key is for schools to introduce a range of protective measures to safeguard their pupils. We also know that every school is different and circumstances will vary in each, therefore we understand that flexibility is needed.
By introducing measures such as reducing the size of classes, keeping children in small groups and frequently cleaning classrooms, schools can ensure they minimise risk.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
“Being in school is vital for children’s education and their wellbeing, which is why we are working to get all pupils back into classrooms by September.
“We know that young children cannot be expected to follow social distancing in schools, and our guidance is clear schools should implement a range of protective measures, including reducing the size of classes and keeping children in small groups.
“We have worked constructively with schools, councils and unions for the last 11 weeks, and that will continue as we seek to bring all children back in September.”