English secondary pupils to be tested for Covid before term starts

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English secondary pupils are to be tested for Covid at least once before returning to school, the British government has said.

In a statement announcing the measures, health secretary Sajid Javid said “regular testing is a key way to support schools and protect face-to-face teaching”.

Ministers have assured schools that testing kits will be provided as needed and urged pupils to test twice weekly, the BBC reports.

The new on-site testing rules will be limited to England, where pupils will begin returning to schools for the new term later this week.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, students are already being asked to test twice a week.

The Welsh government has asked staff and students to test three times per week before returning to classrooms this term.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said people struggling to get lateral flow tests “should just refresh” their webpage, amid a national shortage in Covid test kits.

He told Sky News he had organised a separate supply of tests for schools ahead of children’s return to the classrooms.

Classes could be merged if the number of school staff off sick climbed too high, he added.

Photo – A school crossing sign in London, Britain. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN

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