Schools told to offer on-site Covid testing after holidays
The Independent|November 28, 2021
Secondary schools should test pupils for coronavirus on their return from the Christmas holidays, the government has said. The Department for Education (DfE) emailed schools on Friday urging them order a sufficient number of lateral flow tests by Tuesday to ensure that they can test pupils on site after they come back in January.
ANDY GREGORY

The move is necessary to “reduce transmission after a period of social mixing”, the email said, also asking school leaders to order additional tests so that pupils can continue to test at home. But the demand has prompted accusations that ministers are treating headteachers like “an ad hoc branch of the NHS” as opposed to educators.

It is not reasonable for the government to impose such a “considerable public health task on schools with minimal support”, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) warned in response.

The email – which came as the UK added six southern African countries to its travel red list following the emergence of the new, potentially vaccine-evading omicron variant – stated: “We would like all secondary schools to prepare to test their pupils once on site on return in January. We understand that this is a significant additional ask, but testing continues to play a vital role in keeping Covid-19 out of schools.”

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