All secondary faculty college students in England shall be requested to take a COVID-19 take a look at on web site following the Christmas break, the federal government has stated.
In an e mail to colleges on Friday, the Division for Schooling (DfE) advised leaders to order sufficient testing kits by Tuesday to ensure every pupil can take a rapid lateral flow test after they return in January.
Testing all college students “will assist cut back transmission after a interval of social mixing over the college holidays”, the correspondence stated.
“We want all secondary schools to organize to check their pupils as soon as on-site on return in January,” the DfE stated.
“We perceive that it is a vital further ask however testing continues to play a significant function in retaining COVID-19 out of faculties.”
Secondary faculties have additionally been advised to order dwelling testing kits to distribute to pupils, who’re anticipated to proceed testing themselves in keeping with authorities tips.
Exams, PPE and funding shall be offered to assist employees with the method, the DfE stated.
The Affiliation of College and School Leaders (ASCL), a union representing academics, stated it’s “not affordable” for the federal government to impose such a substantial public well being activity on faculties “with minimal assist”.
Julie McCulloch, director of coverage at ASCL, stated the federal government “appears to have forgotten that faculty leaders are educators somewhat than an advert hoc department of the NHS”.
“Their focus is on offering the educating and studying required by their college students, which is especially necessary within the context of the disruption brought on by the pandemic,” she stated.
“The very last thing they want is one other large accountability which doesn’t even fall inside the remit of schooling.”
She stated the function of faculties needs to be restricted to offering an area for take a look at centres and communication with college students, somewhat than organising testing stations and the logistics of staffing.
A DfE spokesperson stated the choice was “a part of our dedication to defending face-to-face schooling” and mirrored that “mixing between households is more likely to improve over Christmas”.
At the start of the autumn time period, all secondary faculty and school pupils in England have been urged to take two lateral movement checks.
They have been then requested to maintain testing twice every week at dwelling.