UK Politics

‘A test the government must pass’ – ministers urged to prioritise coronavirus testing in schools

150Views

The coronavirus testing regime must be improved or the government risks "throwing away" the progress made by reopening schools, the Children's Commissioner for England has warned.

Anne Longfield has called it a test ministers "cannot afford not to pass".

"The PM and Chief Medical Officer [Chris Whitty] have said schools are a priority – they must be the last to close, the first to open," she told The Sun.

Image: A survey found more than 80% of schools in England currently have children not in class because they cannot access a COVID-19 test

"But they can't now throw those achievements away by not having tests in place."

The situation could soon become critical if students and staff are forced out of the classroom when suspected coronavirus cases worsen in the winter months, Ms Longfield said.

Advertisement

"A lot of problems come because teachers are showing symptoms and therefore need to be tested and this affects the schools, especially small ones, because there comes a point when you can't run a school because there aren't enough staff," she told the BBC.

"That's going to be really difficult for teachers to be able to manage if they don't have the test and don't have the back-up they need to make those really difficult decisions.

More from Boris Johnson

"This is a test for government that they cannot afford not to pass."

Those fears echoed a survey of schools which revealed on Friday that more than 80% of schools in England currently have children not in class because they cannot access a COVID-19 test.

:: Subscribe to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Public Health England's weekly coronavirus report suggested cases of the common cold among students, back at school since earlier this month, may be inflating Read More – Source