Statement on mass COVID testing in schools and colleges in England in 2021

Voice Community has given its reaction to the announcement of a national roll-out of mass COVID testing in secondary schools and colleges in England from January 2021. Plus further information on the scheme.

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Voice Community – Community Union’s education and early years section – has given its reaction to the announcement of a national roll-out of mass COVID testing in secondary schools and colleges in England from January 2021. 

Community Assistant General Secretary (Voice) Deborah Lawson said:

“This is good news – but at the wrong time.

“Voice Community has been calling for schools to have wider access to testing so they can be safe places of work.  

“However, it’s outrageous that the Government should announce its plans for national roll-out ​so close to the end of term.

“The announcement is scant on detail, which will heap even more pressure on ​exhausted school leaders, teachers and support staff as they consider its impact at a time when they should be enjoying a well-earned Christmas break.

“We want our members and the children they work with to be safe, and mass testing is one measure the Government intends to use to achieve this.  

“We know that mass testing has been piloted in the North West with some success, although we have yet to learn the details.

“Questions we await answers to include who will carry out the testing, and what disruption this will cause in schools and colleges?  

“What training will be provided for those undertaking the testing and how will they be protected?

“Until the Government can ​fully answer these and other questions, we have reservations.”

Further information

Secondary schools and colleges to get weekly coronavirus testing Press release, DfE and DHSC, 15 December 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges Guidance, DfE, 15 December 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): assessment processes for selective school admissions Guidance, DfE, 15 December 2020

DfE's Q&A

COVID-19 National Testing Programme: Schools & Colleges Handbook (NHS) (pdf)

Mass Testing in Education: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges (Gov.UK) (pdf)

Mass asymptomatic testing: schools and colleges Detailed guide, DfE and DHSC: Find out how to administer testing which will begin in January 2021.

www.voicetheunion.org.uk/coronavirus

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