December 18th, 2020
From January, and starting with secondary schools, including all special schools and alternative provision, the education workforce will be eligible for weekly on the spot tests. This will help identify asymptomatic cases – which make up a third of all cases – limiting the spread of the virus. This will be backed up by daily testing for staff who have been in close contact with a positive case therefore eliminating the need for self-isolation; allowing them to continue to come into school or college.
Students and pupils will be eligible for daily testing if they have been in close contact with a positive case.
You can read the press notice and a detailed Q&A for parents, but here is a summary of the key details of the announcement:
Teachers and pupils will have access to rapid testing from January.
Staff who are in close contact with cases will be eligible for daily testing, eliminating the need for immediate self-isolation. Only if a daily test returns a positive result will the staff member need to isolate.
Testing will roll out as rapidly as possible from January, starting with staff and moving quickly on to serial testing of students.
It is the decision of the individual school or college when they would like to begin accessing this new dedicated testing capacity.
Detailed operational guidance and training materials are available to secondary schools and colleges so they are able to use the new testing capacity from the first week of the spring term.