Call for all schools to close for first two weeks of term ahead of mass testing

The National Education Union is calling for all school to close ahead of launch of mass testing programme.

National Education Union joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted explained why her union was calling for schools to close for the first two weeks of term.

She told BBC Breakfast: “It will be helpful with two weeks’ Christmas break where there was mixing over Christmas and unfortunately that has raised levels of infection, but you would hope that for a month where there largely has been less mixing, viral levels will go down in the community and they will go down in schools.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“If they haven’t, then we’re in a really dangerous situation.”

Call of all schools to close for first two weeks of term ahead of mass testingCall of all schools to close for first two weeks of term ahead of mass testing
Call of all schools to close for first two weeks of term ahead of mass testing

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced earlier in the week that secondary schools would close to most pupils until January 18, but it did not affect primaries.

Dr Bousted said she hoped schools could implement new measures to help reduce the spread of the virus, with the additional two weeks as well as setting up testing in secondary schools, which she called to be extended to primary schools.

She continued: “Education is really, really important… but you’re not going to get that education if this virus gets out of control in the community because schools will have to close then for a longer period of time.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Asked about the rollout of mass testing in secondary schools, Dr Mary Bousted said the preparations were “equally chaotic”.

Test supplies are due to be delivered to schools on Monday, and Dr Bousted said a secondary school with 1,000 pupils will need approximately 21 trained volunteers to carry it out.

She told BBC Breakfast: “We don’t think it’s the job of schools to be doing this, they have a job to do and that’s educating children.

“We believe this should be a public health organised event, we think that just as the Government at the beginning of the pandemic got a million volunteers to help with the health service, we think the Government should be advertising for volunteers and it should be public health leading this because it’s a public health duty to do that.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Schools are going to find this incredibly difficult to get this up and running in time and to do it as well as public health would be doing it because they’re the health professionals.”

Read More
Mum-of-four shares battle through 'hardest year of her life' after terminal canc...

You can subscribe to this website and enjoy unlimited access to local news, information and puzzles online. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Simply click ‘Subscribe’ in the menu.