Politics

Children told to do lateral flow test before going back to school

Children are being told to take a lateral flow test before they go back to school in a bid to stop the spread of Omicron.

The Scottish Government says all secondary school pupils should do a test either the night before or the morning they return to classes after the Christmas holidays.

They are also being told to take a test before they meet up with friends outside of school.

Staff in schools and in early learning and childcare settings are being asked to do the same to help stop the spread of the Omicron variant.

Weekly testing can help the whole school

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville says anyone who has a positive lateral flow test or has symptoms of coronavirus needs to immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test instead of going back to school.

She said: “It is our absolute priority to keep schools safely open and minimise further disruption to learning.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville.

“To achieve that, we need the help of the whole school community.

“Taking lateral flow tests before returning to school, and continuing to test regularly will help prevent outbreaks of the virus.

“We are grateful to schools for their continued efforts to stress the importance of asymptomatic testing.

“Parents of secondary pupils can also help by encouraging their children to make testing part of their weekly routine – and, importantly, to report all results online, whether positive, negative or void.

Lateral flow test.

“Safety guidance for schools was updated in December in light of Omicron and it is crucial that all the mitigations are strictly followed.

“These include physical distancing, one-way systems and the correct use of face coverings.

“By testing regularly and following the mitigations, pupils and staff can all play their part in keeping themselves, their families and their schools safe.”

This comes after the NASUWT union warned the rapid rise in coronavirus cases could cause “significant disruption” to schools unless “immediate action” is taken by the Scottish Government.

Pupils urged to get vaccinated

Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Gregor Smith is also urging school pupils and staff to make sure they have their coronavirus vaccines as soon as possible.

He said: “With Omicron spreading so rapidly, it is vital that we all do what we can to limit its transmission.

“Rapid lateral flow testing helps us to find infectious cases that might otherwise have been missed, as around one in three people with Covid-19 does not show classic symptoms.

“That’s why it is really important that secondary pupils and school and early learning and childcare staff take lateral flow tests before they meet up with others outside of school or early learning and childcare settings.

“Pupils and staff who are eligible for vaccination should get their jags, and, where appropriate, boosters as soon as they can to receive greater protection from the virus.

“Those aged 12-15 are being offered second doses of the vaccine from this week and I would urge them to take up the offer.

“Drop-in sessions will be available for this age group from today (January 3), while those who have already been given a date for their second jag can call a helpline to bring their appointment forward and get protection from the virus earlier.”

Lateral flow tests can be ordered for home delivery via the UK Government website, or picked up from a pharmacy.

Covid: Keeping schools open ‘remains priority’ amid rising cases




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