Government urged to secure Covid-19 tests for schools

Government urged to secure Covid-19 tests for schools
Sajid Javid said last week ministers expect a need to ‘constrain’ the supply of lateral flow tests for a fortnight amid surging demand.

le Gouvernement is being urged to make sure enough Covid-19 tests are available for schoolchildren and staff.

Actuellement, les Department for Education recommends children and fully vaccinated adults who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus perform lateral flow tests twice a week.

But Health Secretary Sajid Javid last week said ministers expect a need to “constrain” supply for a fortnight amid surging demand.

General concerns over supply issues have prompted calls from the Labour Party and a headteachers’ union for the Government to make sure the tests are available for schools.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, mentionné: “The difficulties the public have had in accessing lateral flow tests over the past few weeks has made many people nervous that they will not be available when needed for school staff and pupils.

“If lateral flow tests are to be critical to enabling pupils and staff to return to school quickly then there must be a ready supply available for schools as they go back in January and throughout the term.”

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: “I think there are two things, mais, that the Government can and should be doing. The first is on testing. Pupils should be testing twice a week.

“There’s lots of evidence to suggest that hasn’t been happening properly.

“So the message for Government is get the tests in place, make sure pupils are able to test twice a week.

A student takes a lateral flow test at Hounslow Kingsley Academy in West London (Pennsylvanie)

“And my message to parents and pupils is ‘do take the tests’ because the big challenge this month is going to be keeping pupils learning, avoiding mass absences, and of course making sure that staff are well enough to attend school as well.”

Selon Geoff Barton general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), there are currently no concerns over the supply of lateral flow tests to schools.

Il a dit: “With regards to the availability of lateral flow test kits, schools and colleges are able to order them through an online ordering system, and were advised to place orders before the Christmas holidays if more kits were needed for the start of term.

“These orders are due to be delivered in the week commencing January 3, and we have not been notified by the Government of any issues affecting supply.”

The Department for Education has been contacted for comment.

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