On February 24th, the Government removed the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive COVID test. This denotes the beginning of the Conservative Government’s plan to live with COVID-19 and attempt to move into the future. As inevitable as this decision was, there are some who remain skeptical. 


For many, the necessary self-isolation meant they felt safe in leaving their home and going to crowded areas like school and work, as it meant that the chances of them catching COVID was significantly lower. Now, with it being legal to knowingly leave your household and potentially transmit the virus, those who have been shielding - or are at a higher risk of harm - are feeling unsafe. Fortunately, due to the fast vaccine rollout, many of the immunocompromised people who would be threatened by a weaker strain like Omicron are triple jabbed and much more resilient to the virus’ symptoms if they were to catch it. 


Colchester Sixth Form College has stood their ground on their beliefs, with the student bulletin reading “it is still College policy that people who have had a positive COVID test should still continue to follow the same procedures as previously.” It is unsurprising for the College to hold this opinion considering the precedent already exists that if a student is ill for reasons other than COVID, they should not attend. 


I asked some of the students at the Colchester Sixth Form College for their opinion on the Government’s decision. One student, wishing to remain anonymous, stated: “It’s completely idiotic, isn’t it?” They followed on saying, “I feel awful for the particularly vulnerable who don’t get a choice on ignoring the virus.” 


Another student, Jake Bartlett, answered: “Nothing has really changed. The guidelines weren’t really obstructive so I don’t notice the difference.” He later went on to say, “The ending of guidelines was gonna happen eventually and it’s gotten to the point that, since people are double vaxxed, getting infected doesn’t really mean that much.” 


One further student, Albert Havord, when asked about the removal of COVID guidelines, replied: “People weren’t really following them anyway.” 


It’s fair to say that regardless of the differing opinions over COVID-19 and how the Government has handled restrictions, the vast majority of us are united in being tired of the virus and would love to return to our pre-pandemic lifestyles. We can only hope that we don’t rush this return though, else we risk ending up in another lockdown. At the end of the day, even if it’s not Government-enforced, the choice to wear a mask is always there, and self-isolation when testing positive can still keep people safe.