Education Restart - Information and Guidance for Educational Settings

Guidance for Schools and Educational Settings

The Department’s COVID-19 Guidance for Schools and Educational Settings has been fundamentally reviewed ahead of the 2021-22 academic year to reflect the latest public health messages and in line with medical and scientific advice. Previous letters from the Education Minister to school principals and guidance notes have been superseded by the revised guidance. Copies of these archived letters and guidance notes are still available. Any future changes in the guidance will be reflected as soon as possible.  

Guidance has been developed for education settings to support the safe operation of schools and is in line with the Northern Ireland Executive’s “Pathway out of restrictions” published on 2 March 2020.

The guidance provides an overarching framework for how schools and education settings in Northern Ireland can operate in an ongoing COVID-19 environment, with the aim of ensuring broad consistency and equity across local areas, but is sufficiently flexible to allow education settings and staff to adapt and adopt approaches that best suit their needs.

Updates from Education Minister


A guidance note to all educational settings on use of face coverings in post-primary settings issued on 8 October 2021.

A guidance note to schools in relation to contact tracing issued on 14 September 2021.

Letter from the Minister to School Principals in relation to revised arrangements for the identification of close contacts in schools – 9 September 2021

Letter from the Minister to School Principals in relation to contact tracing – 3 September 2021

Letter from the Minister to parents/carers relating to the start of the new school year - 26 Aug 2021

Archive of COVID-19 Letters to School Principals from the Minister and Guidance Notes

Posters and Checklists

In a partnership between the Department, the Education Authority and the Public Health Agency, a range of posters and checklists for use in schools and by school leaders.  

Supporting Staff to Return to School 

As COVID-19 restrictions are eased, schools will be reopening for pupils and staff will be returning to schools.  This guidance includes key considerations and responsibilities and sets expectations on how to support staff returning to the work place.


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