Protective measures for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Protective measures for providers of community activities, holiday or after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school settings offering provision to children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Applies to England



Providers of out-of-school and holiday activities operate from a range of premises, including schools and other regulated educational institutions, by arrangement with the proprietors of those institutions, and other community premises such as village halls, by arrangement with the owners or managers of those premises.

The Department for Education wants to ensure, with these protective measures, that all providers are able to open in:

  • their own premises
  • education premises, such as schools or colleges (where providers would be using them outside of school hours, or when closed over school holiday periods)
  • community-facing premises including village halls, community centres and places of worship

Updates to this page

Published 1 July 2020
Last updated 24 February 2022 + show all updates
  1. We’ve updated the guidance to reflect new public health guidance tracing close contacts, isolation and when someone has symptoms or a positive test.

  2. Updated to reflect the end of the asymptomatic testing programme. Reference made to UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) guidance on contact tracing and isolation which comes into effect from Thursday 24 February 2022.

  3. Updated to reflect the removal of Plan B requirements for working from home, face coverings in classrooms, face coverings in communal areas and mandatory NHS COVID Pass certification requirements for events.

  4. Updated guidance in line with the UKHSA announcement about confirmatory PCR tests and clarifying that children can return to school after day 7 if they've had 2 negative LFD tests.

  5. Updated the face coverings section to include the use of face coverings in classrooms and indoor activity rooms for adults and children aged 11 and above.

  6. Updated to reflect that daily rapid testing is now recommended for contacts of COVID-19.

  7. Following the Prime Ministers announcement on 8 December 2021, we have updated guidance on asymptomatic testing, tracing close contacts and isolation, face coverings, workforce and the clinically extremely vulnerable.

  8. Converted to HTML to improve accessibility and add clarification on the use of face visors and face shields by those who are exempt from wearing face coverings.

  9. Updated information about isolation, vaccinations for under 18 year olds, face coverings and international education visits.

  10. Updated information about vaccinations for 12 to 17 year olds, asymptomatic testing, under-18s that were previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) and the end of the shielding programme.

  11. Updated information on CO2 monitors in the 'Control measures: Keep occupied spaces well ventilated' section.

  12. Added section on 'tracing and self-isolation' to explain that children under 18 and fully vaccinated adults do not need to self-isolate if they're identified by NHS Track and Trace as a contact.

  13. Updated to remove pre-Step 4 guidance, amend clinically extremely vulnerable information and publish in HTML.

  14. We have clarified that "From 19 July, the Government is removing the requirement to wear face coverings in law but expects and recommends that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with people you don't normally meet. This includes public transport and dedicated transport to school or college.

  15. We have added COVID-19: Action for Out-of-school Settings guidance which applies from Step 4. This guidance removes restrictions such as keeping children in consistent groups (bubbles), wearing face coverings in classrooms, communal areas and in community settings, limits on parental attendance, and restrictions on group sizes for residential visits. It also includes information about updating your outbreak management plan and what to do when an individual in your setting tests positive for COVID-19. From 16 August, children under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact.

  16. Guidance updated to reflect latest changes.

  17. We have converted the guidance to HTML to make it easier to read. We have not changed any of the guidance from the update on 10 May.

  18. Updated to provide additional guidance on residential visits, which can commence from Step 3. Updated the guidance on use of face coverings, indoor group sizes and parental attendance at out-of-school settings.

  19. We have updated advice on the use of face coverings, Lateral Flow Device (LFD) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and self-isolation. We have removed information on who can attend out-of-school settings prior to 29 March and updated information to reflect the commencement of step 2 of the COVID-19 Response – spring 2021.

  20. Changes made to the sections 'Considering group sizes', 'Promote and engage in asymptomatic testing', 'Educational visits and trips', and 'Staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable'.

  21. Removed old guidance for before 8 March.

  22. Guidance updated to outline who can attend out-of-school settings and what actions providers will need to take from 8 March. Added new sections on advice for pregnant staff members and engaging in asymptomatic testing.

  23. Updated the home education section with further information on vulnerable children who have difficulty engaging in remote education. Also added a section on Test and Trace Support Payments.

  24. Updated information on who should attend out-of-school settings in line with new national lockdown restrictions, group sizes with information on staff:bubble ratios, educational visits and trips in line with new national lockdown restrictions, staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable to reflect that shielding has been introduced nationally, and music, dance and drama provision to reflect that live performances should not take place.

  25. Updated to reflect changes to the contingency framework and the January 2021 return to school guidance.

  26. Updated to reflect new local restriction tier 4 (stay at home) requirements and attendance at out-of-school settings during the first week of the new school term in January 2021.

  27. Updated guidance in the following sections: home education; educational visits and trips; providers of music, dance and drama or sports provision; who can attend your out-of-school setting; and equality. Added guidance about social distancing. These updates apply from 2 December.

  28. Added links to new national restrictions guidance.

  29. Updated with information about local COVID alert levels.

  30. Updated to remove out of date summer references, added a section of links to venue-specific guidance and updated Test and Trace section to reflect launch of the NHS COVID-19 app.

  31. Protective measures update for autumn term, making clear the position on group sizes and how providers can minimise the risk of children mixing outside their school bubbles, as well as additional content on music and performing arts, educational visits and shared resources.

  32. Updated content on considering group sizes (including the position for early years settings which provide care for both those under and over the age of 5). Added information on the opening of indoor sports facilities, and when providers will be able to use these venues. We also made clear that providers should only be operating in premises legally able to open. Added links to further relevant guidance providers may need to have regard to.

  33. First published.

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