“Councils want to work with schools and local health teams to do all they can to ensure staff, pupils, parents and visitors can be in school settings, safely and securely, without risk of passing on coronavirus.”
Responding to today’s government announcement on its plan to roll out coronavirus testing in schools from January, Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said:
“Councils want to work with schools and local health teams to do all they can to ensure staff, pupils, parents and visitors can be in school settings, safely and securely, without risk of passing on coronavirus.
“COVID-19 testing in schools is one tool to help local authorities in their drive to keep schools open to ensure pupils don’t fall further behind in their education.
“However, we are concerned over the impact on school staff and the need for them to be trained if they are expected to administer the testing fully and safely, as well as the expected timescale to achieve this, which will fall to already exhausted staff and leadership teams. Government also needs to recognise and utilise the experience of school nurses in this roll-out and learn from the experience of testing in the care sector.
“They all need to have full confidence in arrangements for testing, knowing that the risks and benefits are fully understood, alongside continued safety measures including use of PPE, social distancing and hand hygiene.
“Schools are based in the heart of communities so it is vital that schools testing aligns with other parts of the system, such as contact tracing and test and trace local outbreak management, and is planned and resourced alongside directors of public health and councils.”