Unions warn full reopening of schools could be under threat

Unions warn full reopening of schools could be under threat as hundreds of teachers report delays in getting Covid-19 tests

  • Head teachers’ union said Government could derail the full reopening of schools 
  • More than 200 members have reported difficulties with test and trace system 
  • Some schools have been told nearest testing centre is hundreds of miles away 

Hundreds of schools and colleges are reporting delays in getting Covid-19 tests.

A head teachers’ union said the Government’s failure to provide the promised access to testing is threatening to derail the full reopening of schools.

More than 200 members of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) yesterday reported difficulties with the test and trace system. 

Some schools have been told their ‘nearest’ testing centre is hundreds of miles away, with one pupil reportedly told to make a 1,100-mile trip.

While the number of schools experiencing problems is a small percentage of those open in England, ASCL said it means thousands of children and teachers are unable to come in for classes.

 A head teachers’ union said the Government’s failure to provide the promised access to testing is threatening to derail the full reopening of schools (file image)

One school leader said: ‘I have approximately ten pupils who are at home with symptoms all of whom are waiting for tests.

‘Potentially I could have a number of positive cases linked to my school and not know it.’

Schools and colleges – often with more than 1,000 students and staff – have received a Government supply of just ten home-testing kits. These must be offered in the ‘exceptional circumstances where an individual may have barriers to accessing testing elsewhere’.

ASCL said these tests are ‘rapidly being depleted’.

 More than 200 members of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) yesterday reported difficulties with the test and trace system (file image)

Yesterday Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed ‘whole schools’ had been attempting to secure Covid testing. 

‘We’ve had whole schools saying that they want to come forward for testing and sending all the pupils for testing – this is not appropriate,’ he told Nick Ferrari’s LBC radio show.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of ASCL, said: ‘We are very concerned that the fantastic work of schools and colleges in putting in place a raft of safety measures in order to fully reopen for the autumn term is at risk of being derailed by a lack of capacity in the test and trace system.’ 

Source: Read Full Article